2020 Press (2017)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (9/17)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘Terminal Secret’ by Mark Gilleo on Blogcritics.
“Terminal Secret” by Mark Gilleo is one of the most creative story plots I have read in a long time. From the very first page, the author captures your attention, and leads you through a whirlwind of drama, intrigue and suspense.
A DC attorney murdered on her own doorstep arouses suspicion when unusual evidence from the Medical Examiner confuses investigating detective Wallace and his new partner. Within the same time frame, another female was found drowned in a nearby canal. First thoughts were that she was distracted by using her cell phone. However, after further examination, she shows cancer throughout her body. A mysterious shell casing found in the victim’s pocket, leads to even further questions.
Sherry Wellington is a former waitress who had a child by a former military veteran that was addicted to pills and alcohol. Realizing the relationship would not work out, Sherry took work wherever she could. It was during this time she met and married a popular Congressman. Now fearing for her life, she hires private investigator, Dan Lord. When Sherry learns the baby’s father is killed, she wants to know why and by whom. She does not want her husband, the Congressman, to know she is looking into this matter and chooses not to divulge all the information from her past life. The two investigations collide, setting all parties on the path of immense danger.
Gilleo does a great job with character development. I particularly enjoyed Detective Wallace, a humorous, black male who has no need for a partner, especially one who is a young, white female, with no real life experience. Detective Wallace is a character who makes you love him just for his sarcastic comments. His partner is up for the challenge he presents, and eventually wins his approval. The interaction between the two as they work the case provides solid entertainment.
I love the way the author slowly builds up the motive for the mysterious deaths, and why terminally ill cancer patients were chosen for this job. I found the story quite interesting and unique. It was easy to read and stay involved in, given the circumstances. There is plenty of action without being overwhelmed with too many characters or details, and I can certainly understand why certain individuals chose to do what they did.
I have not read any previous books by this author, however, I understand he has several other novels available, and look forward to checking out his other works. Though lengthy, the creative plot, action, and humor make for a fast read. “Terminal Secret” by Mark Gilleo will be my recommendation for our next book club read.