by Bruce TierneyFebruary, 2003
A killer with surgical precision
A shimmering black SUV pulls up to the corner. A hooker steps in, grateful for a few moments respite from the St. Paul rain. The handsome john drives to secluded Lilydale Park, on the banks of the Mississippi. When he strikes her the first time, harder than she has ever been hit, she realizes that she has made a deadly error in judgment, and she begins to scream. "Go ahead," he says. "Who will hear you?" The last words she will hear in this life are the menacingly whispered ". . . the fly shall marry the bumblebee."The investigator assigned to the slaying is homicide detective Paris Murphy. The case holds more than just professional interest for Murphy, as she knew and liked the victim. Teamed up with veteran investigator Gabriel Nash, Murphy delves into the crime. A suspect is identified early on, but it is a touchy situation, since he is a respected surgeon and a member of one of the Twin Cities' most prestigious families. Murphy must proceed with great care in building her case, or risk that it will all come tumbling down around her, perhaps taking her career along with it. Going undercover, she befriends the doctor, in hopes of entrapping him. The plan backfires when Murphy's picture shows up in the local newspaper in an article about the ongoing investigation. Now Murphy is both hunter and prey, and her adversary is clever, twisted and ruthless. Clean Cut is Theresa Monsour's first novel, but she is by no means an overnight sensation. She has been a reporter and staff writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press for more than 20 years. Her sense of place is uncanny, and her characters are well-drawn and believable. In Clean Cut Monsour launches her mystery-writing career with a winner and one that bodes well for a long series.