By JO ANN VICAREL
Virgins and Martyrs: An Aria Quynn Novel.
Author: Merkel, E.L.
Five Star: Gale. Apr. 2008. c.381p. ISBN 978-1-59414-635-0. $25.95. M
Det. Aria Quynn of Florida's Spanish Bay Police Department is caught between the FBI and a reporter bent on getting an exclusive. The story opens when an abortion clinic is bombed, and a 13-year-old girl has visions of the Mother of God in a shopping mall. Quynn must determine whether these "visions" are connected to the bombing. Raising the specters of stigmata, the abortion debate, religious fanaticism, and extremist terrorism in the United States, Merkel (Final Epidemic, Dirty Fire) keeps the reader riveted as the story plays out to an unexpected ending. Using his background in journalism, Merkel draws a fascinating picture of the difference between a police officer's investigation for the truth and a reporter's search for a story. See Edna Buchanan for more of this genre juxtaposition. Highly recommended.
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