Thursday, April 5, 2018

Body of the Crime by Jennifer Chase **Review**

BODY OF THE CRIME by Jennifer Chase, 397 pp., Mystery Suspense, $.99
(Kindle edition)

Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 397
Genre: Mystery Suspense

Three grisly murders linked to five old cold cases, dubbed the Flower
 Girl Murders, pushes detectives to their limit to find a clever and
extremely brutal serial killer, leaving a California town demanding
justice. The District Attorney’s Serial Special Task Force retains the
help of the reclusive Dr. Chip Palmer, a forensic expert and criminal
profiler, to steer them in the right direction.

Palmer is known for his astute academic interpretations of serial and
 predatory crimes, along with his unconventional tactics that goes
against general police procedures. He is partnered with the tough and
beautiful D.A. Inspector Kate Rawlins, a homicide detective transplanted
 from Phoenix, and the chemistry ignites between the team—turbulent and

The Flower Girl Murders leaves three homicides, five cold cases, two
seasoned detectives, three suspects, and one serial killer calling all
the shots. The investigation must rely on one eccentric forensic
scientist to unravel the clues to solve the case. But at what cost?

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I've always been interested in criminal and forensic profiling...I don't know why... but I loved that this story focused on a criminal profiler and a forensic scientist. Chip (Dr. Alexander Palmer) is a recluse, to the point of not wanting people to know where he lives; but he has his reasoning for it, especially given his job description. I personally enjoyed the many storylines, especially since this is a start to a series. It lays some of the groundwork for later. Some readers may not like the over-the-top details but I think it gives the story a continuance. I do think that "The Killer" - could have been given a name, or even dubbed something a little obvious such as The Flower Killer since he carefully chooses where to leave his female victims with a flower. I think this being the first in the series it was really good, but I do hope for more mystery and suspense in the next books.

I HATED THE CURIOUS AND often skeptical looks,
which came from the audience in the gallery. I gently eased my body into the
chair and faced them directly. It felt more like I was a participating target
in a firing squad than a courtroom proceeding.
Shifting from side to side in the cushioned seat, I fidgeted
with my tie. It was the only thing I could do under the circumstances.
I waited patiently trying not to nervously tap my fingers.
At least the chair was comfortable as I rested my forearms
and hands on the armrest. It was not easy to avoid looking at the two burly
sheriff deputy bailiffs stationed at the back corners of the room. They watched
everyone with an extreme somber, statue-like presence. I was not even sure if
they actually blinked or not. 
All eyes in the courtroom fixated on me.
The room fell into complete silence. The audience readied
themselves waiting for the show to begin. At least that was what I had imagined
in my own mind. 
I realized when the prosecutor had finally called my name to
testify and the bailiff escorted me into the courtroom that I had forgotten to
change my shoes. Dirt and mud had affixed deep into the crevices of the
heavy-duty rubber soles, which donated little chunks of dried soil as I walked
from the back of the courtroom to the witness area. There were little piles of
mountain soil left behind with every stride. It looked like I had stolen shoes
from a homeless person.
It was only yesterday that I had taken an extra-long walk
down a wooded path that was barely passable even for the native wildlife, but I
did not let the rugged terrain scare me out of adding another specimen to my collection
of California sediment. In the process, my shoes sunk deep into the mud. At one
point my foot had slipped from the left shoe and then plunged my sock-clad foot
directly into the sticky muck.   
I was all too aware of how disheveled I looked only two
months before my fortieth birthday. It was not appealing. My appearance did not
give the impression that I was an expert at anything, but somehow I managed to
muddle through with an air of authority.
Crime scenes
never lied, and it was my job to explain the scientific facts to the
non-scientific community; but in the end, it was up to the jury to make the
right choice of guilt or innocence. Twelve good people ultimately shouldered
the justice burden, and I was just the messenger of facts—good or bad.    

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and
consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police
forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice.
These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the
criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent
sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every
story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime
and criminal profiling. She is an affiliate member of the International
Association of Forensic Criminologists.


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