Greg Messel - Fog City Strangler

Saturday, February 22, 2014

12. Fog City Strangler by Greg Messel (2013)
The Sam Slater Mysteries Book 4
Length: 493 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Started: 11 February 2014
Finished: 22 February 2014
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Dorothy from Pump up Your Book for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 8 January 2014
Why do I have it? I like historical mysteries and Greg Messel is a new author for me.

As 1958 nears its end, San Francisco is being terrorized by a man who calls himself the Fog City Strangler. Each victim is a pretty, young blonde woman between the ages of twenty and thirty-five, and the strangler claims credit for each murder by sending a note and a piece of the victim's clothing to the local newspapers. The police have almost no leads to go on, and appear to be absolutely baffled by a suspect who has proven that he's capable of just about anything.

Private eye Sam Slater is just as anxious as everyone else that this murderer is caught soon. He is convinced that his beautiful blonde wife, TWA stewardess Amelia Ryan, will become the Strangler's next victim. His anxiety is further fueled when TWA launches an advertising campaign with Amelia's picture on a series of billboards plastered all over the city. Sam fears the billboards may attract too much attention - the wrong kind of attention.

Meanwhile, Sam and Amelia are hired to try and find the missing daughter of a wealthy dowager who fears she has lost her only child. The missing woman went for a walk with her dog on Stinson Beach, near San Francisco, and seemingly vanished into thin air. The woman's husband arrived at the couple's beach house and found the dog running loose but there was no trace of his wife. After two months, the police are stumped in their investigation.

As Sam and Amelia continue to investigate the disappearance of the woman on the beach, they discover that this particular case is more convoluted than it seemed from first glance. Especially when - on a stormy night - a shadowy figure sets fire to the beach house where the couple is staying - hoping to stop their investigation...permanently.  

I truly enjoyed this mystery. This was the first book by Greg Messel that I've ever read, and this was a standalone mystery - despite it being the fourth book in the Sam Slater Mysteries. The mystery - or should I say, mysteries - captured my attention right from the beginning. The characters were very well drawn - very true to the era in regards to attitude and speech - and I just had to find out how the story ended.

I must say that I found myself employing my various 'armchair detection' skills to solve each mystery. I had several of my own theories as regards to possible suspects, as well as ideas about what their potential motives might be. I wanted to keep reading to find out if my assumptions were correct.

I give Fog City Strangler by Greg Messel a definite A! I look forward to reading more from this author in the future, and will certainly keep an eye open for the three previous books in the Sam Slater Mysteries Series Last of the Seals, Deadly Plunge and San Francisco Secrets.

I actually was hoping I may be able to put up this review on Wednesday, but as I finished reading this book rather late last night - some time after midnight, I think - I opted for posting the review a little later today. Oh well, good things come to those who wait, I suppose. :)

A! - (90-95%)  

May you read well and often