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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Warped Web is a private investigator murder mystery written by Vivian Head. Rex Salomon had been a natural at crime solving, and he easily progressed up the ranks of the Metropolitan Police. He was following in his father’s own footsteps and was successfully commanding a murder squad when his growing struggles with necrophobia made it impossible for him to function on the job. While he had long been successful in suppressing his reaction to death and the dead bodies that were an inevitable part of his day-to-day work, a last particularly gruesome cadaver proved to be his breaking point. Were it not for the lucky chance that his partner had found him poised on the roof of the headquarters and ready to jump, Rex would have ended it all, there and then. Working with the police psychiatrist gave him some tools to combat the worst attacks, but they were insufficient to address the underlying phobia.
After several months, Rex left his job and family and went to Malta, hoping the change of venue, relaxation and warmth would help him heal. His return, some months later, was met with his wife’s refusal to let him in the door of his former home and a rueful realization of his dwindling personal resources. Then he overheard a conversation between two women, one of whom was crying, and the other, on impulse, reached out to him for a referral to a private investigator. Rex had a momentary flash of brilliance as he realized that this was what he could do with his life -- he’d set up an office and become a private eye.
Vivian Head’s private investigator murder mystery, The Warped Web, is a well-written and thought-provoking story about a strange cult-like society that seemed to have the power to render its victims passive and unable to resist the commands of the ominous-looking Babatune, who presided over the mysterious affairs at 52c Quarry Lane. I enjoyed seeing how Rex uses his innate abilities to grab the opportunity offered him and loved watching as he first finds himself an office and lodgings, and then proceeds to assemble a team to help him solve the case. The Warped Web is filled with intriguing twists, turns and inexplicable shadowy apparitions which serve quite well in heightening the suspense, tension and urgency of the tale, and I found this book quite difficult to put down until I had finished the last page. The Warped Web is most highly recommended.