Reviewed by Cynthia Murphy
I am a big fan of mystery novels.
Ever since I discovered Nancy Drew books as a
child, I have been hooked on mysteries.
As a result, I’ve become a bit of a snob. I
hate mysteries where the solutions seem
obvious from the start. That is
definitely not the case with Gail Lukasik’s new novel, Death’s
Door. It offers all
the action and plot twists that one would expect from a summer
actually starts her story 23 years earlier in Des Plaines, Illinois. A reporter interviews a woman about her
daughter’s sudden disappearance. This
scene is both intriguing and haunting.
The woman describes how her daughter seemed to vanish into thin
air. Lukasik quickly jumps into the
modern action with the disappearance of another teenager.
The cases seem eerily similar, but the
location is Door County, Wisconsin. Lukasik
shifts between the past and present to reveal both stories and their
Newspaper reporter Leigh Girard has
to cover the story of the modern missing girl.
Leigh is a breast cancer survivor and relatively new to the
editor tells her the story will probably end with the missing girl,
Margaris, returning on her own.
(Apparently, this is a common occurrence during the summer.) It turns out that her editor is right; but
the story doesn’t end there. During the
search for Janell, Leigh finds the body of Janell’s friend, Stephanie
Everson. The placement of the body is
reminiscent of the case in Illinois. The
murder of Stephanie is just the tip off the iceberg.
Soon afterward, Leigh discovers another
body. Both girls look very similar, and
they were both found near the Mink River.
The cases appear to be the work of a serial killer.
As the story progresses, the killer
begins stalking Leigh. She doesn’t fit
the mold for his victims, but the killer seems to want her to know what
doing. At one point, Leigh even prints a
plea to the killer in the newspaper. Her
efforts fail to stop the killer’s stalking.
Then the plot takes a shocking twist as Lukasik reveals the link
the current killings and the case described in the prologue. It is a conclusion that keeps the reader on
the edge of his seat. I won’t spoil it,
it is definitely worth the wait.
Lukasik has an intriguing heroine
in Leigh Girard. Her fight against
cancer has shaped her life. It always
seems to be in the back of her mind, but it isn’t a negative presence. Instead, it seems to have given her a new
type of courage. That courage leads her
to follow her hunches and ultimately solve the case.
Lukasik also does an excellent job of
avoiding clichés with Leigh’s character.
It would have been very easy for her to fall into the trap of a
crime-solving reporter. Lukasik gives
her character many dimensions and creates a unique voice for Leigh.
Lukasik also does a great job of
creating suspense throughout the novel.
It is full of twists and turns that definitely keep the reader
guessing. Lukasik effectively maintains
suspense with the subplot that appears in the prologue.
It actually becomes an integral part of the
main plot. Lukasik skillfully weaves all
of the connecting twists into one terrific suspenseful plot.
Door is a must-read for mystery fans.
It has excellent pacing and a great heroine.
(It is actually the second novel featuring
Leigh Girard.) Gail Lukasik has a knack
for creating suspense and maintaining the tension.
She has the foundation for a good series with
the Leigh Girard mysteries. Lukasik may
still be relatively new to the mystery genre, but she could definitely
the top of the field.
Author Web Site