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Death by Death
ISBN: 1-931513-34-1

By Clare McNab
Review by: Moira Richards

12/01/04

Denise Cleever is a gorgeous, blonde, and lusty secret agent employed by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (but sadly for the men who desire her, her sexual preference is for other women -- incomprehensible as this is to the former :-) In Death by Death, Cleever is assigned to go undercover to help find the brains behind the incidence of a number of very public serial murders that are exploding across the world. It is a mystery story that is not only a whodunnit, but a whydunnit too, since it is clear from the start of the story who some of the murderers are -- or to be more accurate, who they once were.

McNab has picked up on a tragically topical issue in this book with her employment of suicide killers. Agent Cleever has to pose as a psychiatrist and her research for the assignment gives the reader interesting insight into one possible reason why it is that young people should be prepared to sacrifice their lives to a political cause. I love lesbian adventure protagonists -- they’re always so capable and no-nonsense, and you’ll never find a one of them who twists her ankle at the worst possible time and has to be rescued by a hunk of a guy. In fact, Denise Cleever’s only susceptibility seems to be for the sexy woman she meets and who may or may not be the baddy whom she has to expose.

Death by Death is a short little novel and its plot races along with never a dull page so it makes perfect light reading to clear the brain between the volumes in that pile of have-to-be-reads on the bedside table. It is the first of Clare McNab’s Denise Cleever mystery stories that I’ve read, although it seems to be the fifth in the series, and I surely look forward to reading more stories featuring this sassy protagonist.

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