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Reviewed by Darryl Greer for Readers' Favorite
The Manhattan Red Ribbon Killer by Owen Parr is the third book in a crime mystery series featuring unlikely brothers, Italian-American Joey Mancuso and Irish-American Father Dominic O’Brian (don’t worry — the relationship is explained in the story). This time, New York City is being terrorised by a serial killer preying on young, professional women who seem to have a lot more in common than first meets the eye. As the bodies pile up and NYPD’s Midtown South Precinct cops are no closer to finding the killer, they enlist the services of a private investigative team, Mancuso & O’Brian Investigations. Joey Mancuso, a former member of the precinct’s homicide squad, has both friends and enemies there, but he is not one to be intimidated by those who resent an outside consultant being recruited into their investigation. With the aid of his brother and partner, Fr. Dom, Joey puts his Sherlock Holmes’ style investigative skills to good use and sets out on a dangerous path to find the perpetrator of these heinous crimes. His hunt for the killer almost costs him his life, but he’s not about to give up and eventually he discovers the shocking truth.
At first, like an Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie novel, a slow burner, the pace of Owen Parr’s The Manhattan Red Ribbon Killer picks up along the way. Then it becomes a real page turner, a true crime thriller. The device of using a character who isn’t actually a homicide squad detective and casting him alongside a Catholic priest is unique, for me at least, and adds a dash of spice to the story’s flavour. The dialogue is script-like and believable, the scenes easy to visualise. In fact, at times the scenes are so graphic they are too easy to visualise — this book is not for the faint-hearted. Just as I was hyperventilating and the narrative edged towards what I thought was its dénouement, it took an unexpected and dramatic ninety-degree turn and went off in another direction. One surprise followed another. I was almost glad to reach the end so I could catch my breath. The Manhattan Red Ribbon Killer is indeed a killer of a story.