Monday Book Review: Designed to Kill


Designed to Kill by Chester D. Campbell

Book Description

Publication Date: March 14, 2004
It’s no vacation that brings Greg McKenzie and his wife, Jill, to the glistening white sand beaches at Perdido Key, FL. Architect Tim Gannon, son of the McKenzies’ closest friends, is fouind dead of a gunshot wound. Self-inflicted, says the deputy who investigated, a clear case of remorse over a design flaw in a beachfront condo that caused a balcony collapse, killing two people. It looks otherwise to Greg and Jill, who find plans missing, an obstinate contractor, a too-slick developer, and an inspector angry over a disrupted love affair. After two hoods work him over, Greg realizes Jill is in danger, too, and if this is a murder case, he had better solve it without delay.

My Take:

Refreshing take on the detective mysteries that I’ve read in the past.  Chester Campbell’s book is a first for me in his writings and I must say I have not been disappointed. There wasn’t the usual ‘over-the-top-testestosterone’ one usually reads in a male lead detective or investigator, there wasn’t the slut-of-the-century-sex-kitten that some writers typically fall back on; there wasn’t the bumbling-yet-smart-detective that others seem to to think readers enjoy.

No, Chester creates a retired couple that have been together, lived a life and now investigate murder mysteries for friends. Without the previous trappings mentioned, Chester leaves room for actual investigation that utilizes a mind over brawn, a loving and caring husband who only has eyes for his wife and a wife that will do anything for her husband.  Even question murder suspects. Chester describes each character with the same detail, leaving no stone unturned.

His scenes are descriptive without getting bogged down in details. The sand, the ocean, the condominiums and so forth, bring forth images that help scene after scene fly by.  I was pleasantly surprised and if another of Chester’s books come up, I’ll be sure to give a second look.

I would give Designed to Kill 4.5 stars.

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