Eularee Smith
Writer & Educator

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The Ninth Step

The Ninth Step
by Grant Jenkins
Publisher: The Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Group New York
Retail: US $15   CAN  $16
ISBN: 978-0-425-25598-8
The Ninth Step by Grant Jenkins, has an interesting plot twist with a hit and run murder careening down a different road. The characters were believable, likable actually, which given the nature of the murder mystery, made it hard to find a villain you love to hate.
Grant Jenkins uses the ninth step from AA to surround the story and drive it through a whopping 64 chapters in 290 pages. The chapters were short, which made it easy to save your spot, but it also made the story a bit disjointed. Just as you were getting into the chapter, it was over and you were off and running in a new direction. Jenkins kept the book edgy with cynical overtones darkening each character's personality.
The main character, Edgar Woodrich, a broken hearted widower, seemed much older until I read further in to the story. An obsessive introvert, Edgar is intrigued with puzzle boxes. His eye for detail leads him to believe he can track down his wife's killer, a hit and run driver.
Helen, his second wife, falls in love with Edgar as she attempts to help ease his grief. But Helen has such a difficult and compelling secret she is keeping from Edgar, that you are constantly waiting for the other shoe to fall. Fall it does and the story flies through the tragic circumstance of the couple and their newborn child. What will each of them do to protect the secret and the lives they both so desperately want to start over? 
A quick and enjoyable read of murder and deceit as you make your way through The Ninth Step. 
Available in bookstores and online in print and ebook formats.