Review

At the Stroke of Madness

by Alex Kava

AT
THE STROKE OF MADNESS is Alex Kava's newest Maggie O'Dell novel. It
continues Kava's quiet --- actually almost understated ---
development of the semi-loner FBI agent. Kava is content at this
point to slowly develop O'Dell's background and personality, while
carrying the novel primarily with the introduction of interesting,
dangerous and frightening antagonists.

O'Dell is starting some long overdue vacation time when she
receives a call from her friend Gwen Patterson. Patterson, a
psychologist, is concerned about Joan Begley, a patient of hers who
left Patterson a cryptic voice mail message and then promptly went
missing.

Begley's last known location was Meriden, Connecticut where she was
attending her grandmother's funeral. O'Dell does not take the
disappearance seriously until the body of a woman is discovered in
an industrial waste drum in an abandoned quarry near Meriden, a
quiet, scenic community primarily known as a tourist stop at the
turning of the leaves each autumn. O'Dell, motivated by guilt,
travels to Connecticut on an unofficial basis to see if the
murdered woman is, in fact, Begley. By the time O'Dell arrives,
more bodies are unearthed and it becomes obvious that there is a
serial killer at work in the area.

Kava really does her forensic homework in AT THE STROKE OF MADNESS,
and it should be noted that you don't want to be chomping down on a
burger or steak while reading some of the passages. She also does
an excellent job of misdirecting the reader as to the ultimate
identity of the killer while providing a couple of clues as to who
the fiend really is. With respect to O'Dell's personal life, Kava
provides one bombshell and sets up the potential for another.

AT THE STROKE OF MADNESS continues Kava's slow but sure development
of O'Dell while continuing to demonstrate her ability to create
unforgettable yet realistic monsters for her to apprehend. The
conclusion of AT THE STROKE OF MADNESS is particularly
unforgettable and may set the stage for a future O'Dell
novel.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 20, 2011

At the Stroke of Madness
by Alex Kava

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense
  • Mass Market Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Mira
  • ISBN-10: 0778320553
  • ISBN-13: 9780778320555