The Hooker, The Dancer and The Nun by John D. Mills

The Hooker, The Dancer and The Nun

A Pine Island Sound Mystery
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A murder mystery engulfs three friends on a coastal Florida island in this latest novel from Mills (The Objector, 2016, etc.).

This tense courtroom drama centers on dark events involving three former University of Florida roommates and their friends as they vacation on Florida’s Pine Island. Lacy Turner, nicknamed “the Hooker” by her friends because of her love of game fishing; Susan Kelly, called “the Dancer” because of her love of doing so at clubs; and Patricia Hendricks, dubbed “the Nun” because “she remained a virgin during her college years,” are close friends when readers first meet them in the opening chapter, set in 1995. But in the following chapter, in 2015, everything has starkly changed: an incident occurred on a Pine Island houseboat, Turner is on trial for Kelly’s murder, and Hendricks has disappeared. Turner protests her innocence, but prosecutor Frank Powers has amassed a damning case against her. Author Mills, a former prosecutor, unfolds the plot in a series of detailed, well-realized courtroom scenes. The story very effectively mixes the Florida atmosphere of John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee novels with the pointed murder-trial give-and-take of Scott Turow’s or Barry Reed’s work and convincingly adds contemporary elements, such as Facebook and text messages. Powers frequently borders on flat stereotype, but the portraits of the three young women at the center of the mystery are refreshingly three-dimensional, and Mills slowly reveals their personalities and secrets in the course of the trial. It’s a testament to the author’s dramatic abilities that he smoothly conveys so much of the action using dialogue alone. Each of the characters who parades through the courtroom—witnesses, experts, lawyers, the judge—feels real and distinct, and the author handles a series of last-minute revelations with a good deal of control.

A taut, effective Florida crime thriller.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-5193-3919-5
Page count: 266pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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