In the midst of a killer storm, another type of killer is loose. He
chooses his victims where the wind takes him. Subtle at first, he
makes it appear the dead are victims of flying debris. Chief
Charlie Grover's intuition tells him otherwise. As he views the
scene with a policeman's eye, he becomes convinced something far
more sinister than Mother Nature on a rampage is at work. He looks
for a pattern in the casualties of recent tornadoes, and finds one.
Chief Grover has his hands full, living in Tornado Alley, battling
a brutal serial killer, and single-handedly raising a histrionic
daughter who bounces between adolescent parental hatred and almost
sappy love for her widower father.
Storm chasers abound in the Midwest and down into Texas. With some,
it becomes an obsession. Charlie Grover finds a true devotee in an
attractive young lady, the first woman to turn his head since his
wife died years earlier. Now, learning about tornadoes is both
business and pleasure to him. He needs to know how the killer's
mind works. Plus, he has old wounds to heal where his father ---
another storm chaser --- is concerned. Evidence left at the crime
scene causes the hairs on his neck to bristle. Could his dad be the
one he is after?
THE BREATHTAKER takes a hard look at how years of unrelenting child
abuse can warp a mind, how the fury left in the place of lost
innocence grows like a cancer and spreads into a consuming rage.
Here, it pushes the victim of the abuse over the edge and he
strikes back --- at anyone in his way. He has lost the ability to
maintain normal relationships. Killing dominates his every thought.
And tornadoes whip him into a frenzy.
While I felt the plot and characters needed a little more
tightening, a fan of chase scenes will find a feast here. The book
is full of them: chasing storms, chasing clues and, ultimately, a
wild ride chasing the villain. The storms are the real stars
In a never-ending search for a new twist in mysteries, Ms.
Blanchard has hit upon a fairly implausible story line, but
anything's possible. If you can suspend your disbelief for a little
while, you may enjoy several hours of entertainment.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 21, 2011