by Bruce TierneyApril, 2004
Mystery of the month
The March Tip of the Ice Pick Award goes to Philip Margolin for the clever and diabolical Sleeping Beauty. As the book opens, author Miles Van Meter rides the crest of a bestseller, a true crime book about the serial killer who put his sister into an apparently irreversible coma and killed several people in Miles' circle of acquaintances. He is about to give a reading to a cadre of fans who have come out for his book tour. In flashback, a chilling tale of multiple murders unfolds: Ashley Spencer, a high school soccer star, awakens in the middle of the night to find her sleepover buddy being brutally beaten by a masked intruder. Ashley is bound with duct tape and apparently slated to be next, when the killer decides to take a break from his carnage for a snack. In this brief interlude, Ashley's mortally wounded father crawls into her room and succeeds in freeing her mere seconds before the killer ascends the stairs to finish his work. Within months, Ashley loses her mother to a killer as well, but this time there is a witness. Outside a campus boathouse, a horrified Ashley watches in terror as a man with a knife crouches over a pair of bloodstained forms, those of her dead mother and of Miles' comatose sister Casey. With Ashley's help, the murderer is caught, but he escapes custody in a flash of brazen, yet utterly believable, derring-do. Now, six years later, Miles recounts the updated version of the tale that made his name a household word. But everything is not as it seems, and before he is done, there will be revelations that will rock his world, and give a decent-sized jolt to the reader as well. Sleeping Beauty is a must for suspense fans; red herrings abound, and the twists are as convoluted as the whorls of a killer's fingerprints.