THE HALO EFFECT (Amateur Sleuth/Psychiatrist-New York City-Cont) – Okay Rose, M.J. – 1st in series
Mira, 2004 – Trade Paperback


Psychiatrist Dr. Morgan Snow is a sex therapist. One of her clients is Cleo Thane, a very high-priced prostitute. When Cleo disappears, Detective Noah Jordain approaches Morgan for information. Someone is ritualistically murdering prostitutes. Cleo has left with Morgan the manuscript of a book she's written about her life and her clients. Due to client confidentiality, Morgan can't give Noah any information but decides to interview five of Cleo's clients herself in an attempt to find Cleo.

There are some very interesting characters in this book; Cleo is beautiful, smart and a survivor; Noah is a dedicated cop with a secondary life as a jazz composer and pianist; and Morgan is a leading psychiatrist in her field, a mother and a woman struggling with her own needs and barriers. But it was also the character of Morgan that caused me a lower my rating. I identified the villain very early in this book and, was Morgan as good at her profession as she was supposed to be, so would she have. Also, the interviewing of Cleo's clients not only put Morgan in the TSTL (too stupid to live) category, but felt like fill and a reason to expound on the acceptance of different sexual needs rather than crucial to the investigation. I think I'd have like this book better had Noah been the primary character and it be a police procedural with Morgan as a secondary character, than the way it was. Parts of the romance between Noah and Morgan felt extraneous and gratuitous. That's not to say the book is bad, just that it feels to me to be more a romantic suspense than a traditional mystery.

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