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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Friday, August 8, 2014

Slaughter and Dismemberment in SuperCuts Supermarket

House of Cuts (Hillary Broome Novels, Book 1)House of Cuts by June Gillam
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was not actually a Goodreads giveaway but it was sent to me by the author because I HAD won the second book in the series and she thought I might enjoy reading the first installment. I think that was very thoughtful of her and will probably make the volume I won more enjoyable.

The heroine in the series is a 30ish red-headed newspaper reporter in a small town near Lodi, California, by the name of Hillary Broome. She is working on a small newspaper with a former journalism classmate who inherited it from his Dad. A new large store, part of the Pricecuts chain, has opened in town and Hillary has been sent to interview the Human Resources Manager, Steven Brookfield. Unfortunately, as the reader already knows, Steven is sitting at his desk, without his head, and both arms removed neatly from his torso a the shoulders and then severed neatly at the elbows. These four pieces are precisely arranged on his desk in I Ching rows, reaching toward $20 bills. Thus begins a fast paced story just as precisely set out in short chapters. Hillary and her editor meet several people along the way as they try to cover the story and the next murder.

Ed, the handsome detective, with whom Hillary is taken, his partner, Walt, who could lose a few pounds, the widows of both victims and a New York, Martha Stewart type who is contracted with Pricecuts to set up demo kitchens in the store to sell along with all the other offerings of a big box store. Who is the killer? No one, including the reader knows, but the reader does know the motive. Pricecuts must pay for the demise of Mom and Pop stores as the result of their coming into the small town and the killer hopes the murders will drive customers away. When the first two don't get the message across, the killer must target a third victim.

The description of management, and working conditions at Pricecuts in remarkable in its accuracy. There is a chain with a very similar name and it all sounds familiar. And while it is true that small stores are affected by the buying power and therefore cheaper prices of big box stores, there are some who survive by changing their operations to be competitive. Nevertheless, the story, while not as similar to Silence of the Lambs as one reviewer stated, is engrossing and an easy read. The ending does have a certain tension to it and the madness of the killer is quite frightening in its realistic possibility. I look forward to reading the next installment of Hillary Broome's adventures and to seeing where, if anywhere, her friendship with Eddie takes her.

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