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The Beauty of the End
Debbie Howells

from FictionZeal.com re: The Drum Within by James R. Scarantino

The Drum Within (A Denise Aragon Novel) - James R. Scarantino

Sante Fe Detective Denise Aragon had him – the man who committed cold blooded murder.  Artist Cody Geronimo was running from the law, stepped into a heavily shrubbed area and phoned his attorney, Marcy Thornton.  Aragon was close enough to record his side of the conversation.  It was a clear confession.  She played the tape for the court.  It was thrown out.  The judge ruled it ‘attorney-client privilege’.  Now Geronimo is set free.  Not only that, upon the judge’s complaint to the mayor, both Aragon and her partner, Rick Lewis, were suspended.  This doesn’t stop Aragon who is more concerned about seeking justice than following rules and regulations.


This story is a well-thought out debut by James R. Scarantino, who according to his bio, had been a prosecutor, defense attorney, and investigative reporter.  Antagonist Cody Geronimo’s thoughts were so bizarre, I had to think twice whether it was due to drugs or just the crazed mind of a cold-blooded serial killer.  Cody was an established and very successful artist.  People who viewed his work either really loved it or really hated it – no middle ground.  I found Aragon to be a knowledgeable and gutsy protagonist.  This is different from the standard ‘whodunit’.  We know the killer.  What we don’t know is the extent to which people will go to in order to pursue or eschew justice.  And, the best news is this is the ground floor of a brand new crime series.  Rating: 4 out of 5.