A Pointed Death

Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction

By Kath Russell

Publisher : CreateSpace

ABOUT Kath Russell

Kath Russell
Kath Russell enjoyed over thirty-five years in marketing and communications management in the biotechnology industry. She was an executive with one of the first genetic engineering companies. Russell also was president of Russell-Welsh Strategic Life Science Communications, Inc., and found More...



Welcome to the world of Nola Billingsley, a 40-something biotechnology whiz with an adored shorthaired pointer, who finds herself embroiled in both a nefarious murder and a blazingly hot new romance in the thriller A Pointed Death, by Kath Russell. When techno genius Nola Billingsley finds her former employee, an amoral creep who stole secrets, murdered, she doesn’t exactly shed tears. Instead, she begins a flirtation with the inspector assigned to the case.

With her shorthaired pointer Skootch watching her back, Nola and her group of techno pals try to help solve the murder, bringing into play Nola’s feisty feminism and idealism, and putting both her life and her love affair at risk. Finding a link between the Chinese government and American thieves, she bands with a group who believes that biotech people should protect their industry from any evil abusers. Could there be a government plot afoot, and can she save the world even as she tries to salvage her love life?

Smart, witty, and playful, A Pointed Death looks at the biotech industry with a decidedly feminine slant. The writing is edgy and full of humor, and the plot twists and turns with surprise after surprise. A breathtaking thriller with a unique background, A Pointed Death announces the debut of an enormously talented new writer to watch.
A Pointed Death is a very well written, compelling mystery that brings together murder, corporate intrigue, bioscience, and one truly fine pointer dog named Skootch. In the interest of full disclosure, I must reveal that the author was kind enough to provide me with a copy of her book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I must also state that I have never given a five star rating to a first time author with a self published novel. This one is truly deserving.

I started this book with much trepidation. I know nothing about the biotechnology business or finance, two areas that play a large role in this story. For the first thirty pages or so, I was feeling a bit lost as the author seemed to be providing me with too much information. It wasn't long however until her characters of Nola, Janie Belle, and of course Skootch had me completely invested in the story. When Nola discovered a headless body that just happened to belong to a disgraced ex-employee, I was intrigued. When she met Harrison, fraud detective with caramel eyes, I was even more intrigued. When she started playing amateur sleuth and began discovering all the intricate threads that connected into a very ugly web of corporate and international crime I was totally hooked.

The author has a very readable writing style that flows well. She infuses her story with quite a bit of humour, often provided by Skootch the totally lovable dog. Nola is a fierce middle aged woman, often despairing of her current situations, but ever confident in her own abilities. She's a great character; a woman of intelligence and talent who steadfastly refuses to take herself too seriously. Her relationship with Harrison was very nicely portrayed in a way that added further unexpected depth to Nola's character.

The author obviously loves San Francisco as she includes a lot of descriptions of the city and it's surroundings. I was initially a bit put off by this, but soon came to appreciate the role the city played in the story. Her descriptions are so well done she has essentially created another character. By the end, I felt that I had actually been there.

As with all mysteries, in the end, the plot is the thing, and that is perhaps what surprised me most about this book. It is just expertly paced and plotted. There were no gaping holes of implausibility, no chapters that should have been left out or repetition of facts, or any of those other elements that often plague first time writers. This is a great example of mystery storytelling. I now know a bit more about finance, biotech, San Francisco, Episcopal Church Services, and Pointer Dogs. I was also late for work and fixed my kids frozen pizza for dinner so I could finish this up and find out how it ended! The author states in her final acknowledgements that this is a "silly escapist book". Perhaps I will only add that this is in fact a thinking person's escapist book. It was a fun ride and one that I would recommend to any mystery lover.

Reviewed by J. Prather