Book Review: Dead Air

Co-ed Samantha “Sammy” Greene, host of Ellsford College’s call-in radio show “The Hot Line” has created plenty of animosity on campus in her single-minded pursuit of a story. The show owes much of its popularity to the no topic is off-limits attitude which rubs conservative listeners, especially Reverend Taft the wrong way. When local police rule Dr. Burton Conrad’s death a suicide, Sammy begins her own investigation. Shortly after Dr. Conrad’s death, a student apparently commits suicide and another student disappears after being sent home sick with chicken pox. Encouraged and incited by Reverend Taft, members of the Youth Crusade set fire to the radio station, destroying it but not Sammy’s determination to uncover the truth. Sammy’s discovery of a link between the two students and Dr. Conrad’s death will put her in the crosshairs of a killer who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect his secrets.

Coauthors Shlian and Reid have created a plausible, plucky amateur detective in this fast-paced medical murder mystery that may leave readers leery of going to the clinic. The characters are well developed with suitably driven antagonists and while the twists may be a bit much, are surprising enough to be fun. The only off note may be the overall setting, such a conservative college would be more believable if placed in the Midwest or south.


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