Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fatal Decree

Title:†Fatal Decree
Author: H. Terrell Griffin
Series: Matt Royal Mystery (#7)
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date:††January 15, 2013

Summary: When a serial killer shows up on Longboat Key, Florida after a twelve-year absence, Matt Royal is stymied. The first woman killed on Longboat Key has ties to a secretive government agency for which Matt's best friend Jock Algren works. Was this a coincidence or was she a targeted kill? Matt's friend, Longboat Key detective Jennifer Diane (J.D.) Duncan investigates the murders but also seems to be a target of the killer. Why? And where has the killer been for the past twelve years? And why has he come to Longboat Key when his earlier kills were all in Miami? The mystery deepens when Guatemalan gang-bangers try to kill Matt and J.D. and suspicions grow that Mexican drug cartels are somehow involved. The director of Jock's agency orders him to do whatever is necessary to find the killer because of the death of the woman with connections to the agency. Will Jock simply take out the murderer or allow J.D. and the law to arrest, try and convict the bad guys? Matt's life is further complicated by J.D.'s growing dissatisfaction with island living and her thoughts of returning to Miami.

Review: Last year, I stumbled upon the Matt Royal series by author H. Terrell Griffin. The novels follow Matt Royal, a middle-aged lawyer who, fed up with the state of the legal system, retired to the small island of Longboat Key, Florida. But small town life didn't stop Royal from finding excitement. Over the course of six novels, Matt found himself directly involved in conspiracies that rocked his hometown. Through his friendship with Bill Lester, Longboat Key's chief of police, and with the help of his drinking buddy Logan, and his friend Jock, who conveniently works for a top secret, high ranking government agency, Matt became a kind of extension of the local law enforcement.

Things seemed to change when J.D. Duncan, a female detective from Miami, joined the Longboat Key force. Her addition, and insistent moral code, caused Matt to not only re-evaluate his actions, but to discover emotions he thought he would never feel again.

In Fatal Decree, the latest novel to feature Royal, we find the characters facing the biggest mystery they have ever faced. When the body of a local woman is discovered floating in the bay, Matt is immediately called by J.D. †It turns out, the body has a whale tail earring in her ear, and the initials KKK carved into the back of her neck. Even more terrifying, this is the signature of a serial killer from Miami who J.D. investigated, and who hasn't been active for years. Now Matt must help solve the case before more islanders or killed. He hates to imagine the worst, but he is scared that the killer may target J.D. next.

I was completely invested in this series the moment I began reading. Unlike other series authors, Griffin has managed to maintain his standards of both quality and content. Seven books in, he still manages to explore unique cases and take his characters into different emotional territory. It was really nice to see Matt and J.D.'s budding relationship come to a head, especially because it didn't play out in the predictable way I feared it was going to. Griffin love of Florida and the people who inhabit it is made obvious by his detailed descriptions of settings and the inclusion of small town characters that give the sometimes-outlandish story a much needed dose of reality. With Fatal Decree, Griffin proves that he is very much at the top of his game. Any fan of fast paced and original mysteries is sure to enjoy this novel.
I currently have 2 autographed copies of this novel to giveaway! Follow the link to my blog to enter. Entries will be accepted through 2/14.

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