When the dismembered body of a young woman is found, Detectives Joe Leverette and Philip Marsden are assigned the case. After investigating the Port Huron, Michigan area where the six body parts were found, but there's a twist in the case: The Murderer goes after each individual who found the parts, one by one.
Leverette becomes interested in one of the women, Carole Sage, a sensitive, but because of the case, he's not able to take it any further. Everyone on the police force sees his infatuation, but Carole does not.
Each of the six witnesses has a dream about the murderer removing the particular body part they found that night. They are startled awake and hear an owl hoot three times. None of them want to reveal their dream to the detectives.
Carole sees the actual murder and each murder as it happens to the witnesses. The police chief, Billingsley, understands her 'gift' and sets up a sting to catch him. It fails and they have to regroup to think of something else. Two witnesses are dead and they don't want a third to die.
Midnight Owl is the first book in the Joe Leverette Mystery Series. Don’t get too comfortable because the book starts off with a real bang. The action erupts on page one as a young woman is stalked. We, the readers, get to watch her death by dismemberment. That’s right, dismemberment. So if you’re looking for a sweet little murder mystery with a Miss Marple lookalike pottering around, think again. This is not it. The body is cut into six parts, and these parts are found by six individuals, completely unrelated to each other or the victim. The problem is, each ‘witness’ has had a horrible dream involving seeing the criminal kill the young woman. The body part they dream about is the one they find. They awaken to the sound of an owl hooting three times. Naturally, they don’t tell the police this because they’d be thought mad or even suspects. An even bigger problem is the killer is now going after these ‘witnesses’ and he manages to kill two. Detective Joe Leverette, who is assigned to the case, finds himself (hesitantly) attracted to one of the witnesses, Carole Sage, who is a ‘sensitive,’ meaning she can see the original murder and the murders of the two witnesses. The police sting set up to catch the killer fails, but is Carole next on his list?
Well, put aside your chores because you’ll just read and read and read (as I did) until you fall off the edge of the cliff. There’s no cliff-hanger in the conventional sense. The book ends with the reader going, “Oh no, don’t end now!” I’m a bit of a cosy mystery fan so this one had my hair standing on end. I love things that are slightly paranormal, but not outside the bounds of what could happen. I found the idea of the dreams and Carole’s psychic abilities fascinating. I also found the fact that the chief of police accepted her help in this regard quite refreshing. I wonder how many times a psychic has pointed out the location of a body to the police.
The book is quite graphic, but when you consider some novels and television series that make sure the reader/viewer is awash in blood and gore, I didn’t think this level of action overstepped the bounds. Murder, after all, is a bloody business and to commit cold, premeditated murder, one has to be a particularly horrible person. I was disappointed that the book ended so abruptly, literally at the moment critique, but I have it on good authority that the author is writing furiously to continue the tale. I’m dying to know who the killer is, why the ‘witnesses’ had dreams, what’s the meaning of the owl hooting, so I’m eagerly waiting for the next in the series. I didn’t feel I got to know as much about Joe Leverette as I’d have liked, but that’s what sequels are for, and I hope the author expands on his character and back story. I’m also rooting for a romance between him and Carole. If you’re a murder mystery or detective thriller fan, you’ll love this book. Five stars.
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