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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Life seemed to finally be coming together for Linda Davenport, a deputy probation officer in Orange County. She and her fiance, David, had finally committed to setting a date and fixing a venue for their wedding, and choosing between living in her rented Laguna Beach cottage or his apartment in historic Tustin would be a win-win whichever they chose. When her supervisor, Ed Gerber, called her in one morning for a special unit meeting, she was somewhat taken aback as it conflicted with her regular schedule, but the option he offered was intriguing. The state’s new Post Release Community Supervision Program was going to need some experienced officers to volunteer until hiring and training was completed. Linda had liked the idea of something different, and had volunteered. And while Ed was reluctant to give her up as one of the valued members of his staff, he agreed to make the arrangements. After the meeting, a routine visit to a client in jail was curtailed because the prison was in lock-down mode. Linda wondered what was wrong; when she finally discovered the reason behind the lock-down, she realized that her life could be in danger. An angry and dangerous felon had escaped from jail, and he had left the scene muttering that he had “scores to settle.” Linda’s part in getting him incarcerated made her a certain target. Now all she could do was to hope he’d be apprehended before he got to her.
No Deadlier Destiny by Jeanette A. Fratto is a fast-paced and exciting mystery novel of a probation officer whose life is put on hold while an escaped felon is on the prowl and wreaking vengeance on everyone responsible for his prison sentence. Fratto, whose own decades-long career with the Orange County Probation Department gives this story a ring of authenticity, eloquently draws contrasts between Linda’s personal life, and her excitement over her upcoming nuptials, and her professional life with the dangers associated with it. She also addresses the issues facing women in law enforcement or other fields considered dangerous and the difficulties they may face in dealing with spousal expectations and fears, and their own interest in raising a family. Fratto’s plot is well crafted, and her characters are finely drawn and credible. No Deadlier Destiny is highly recommended.