|Plot Summary of The Breathtaker|
Warner, Nov 2003, 24.95, 392 pp.
Promise, Oklahoma Police Chief Charlie Glover knows the danger of an F-3 (Fujita Scale) twister having lived in Tornado Alley all his life. Death and destruction are a normal pattern of a tornado of that strength. So when one that severe hits his jurisdiction, Charlie is prepared for the worst. However, what he and his staff find at the Pepper home makes no sense. The outside of the house remains standing as if nothing touched it. Inside the home is the work of a killer who used the latest nasty storm to disguise three brutal murders made up to look like a twister somehow got into the house.
Charlie immediately noticed the abrasions on the arms and hands of the victims. These injuries look like someone trying to fend off an attack. Later the medical examiner informs Charlie that only a maniac would have done this. The culprit transplanted someone else's tooth into each of the dead victims. Successive storms result in more victims with the eerier additional tooth implanted in their mouths. Charlie continues to investigate a psychopath with an obsession and a professional knowledge of tornadoes.
The story line is action packed and the key cast members, especially Charlie, his teenage daughter, his romantic interest, and his employees are a solid cast. The key characters remain the tornados that have a life of their own yet the depth of rage does not come across as with recent movies or even compared with the humorous twister that transported Dorothy out of Oz. Still readers obtain a powerful storm related thriller inside a strong cat and mouse who-done-it.
Harriet Klausner, Resident Scholar
|"This book takes place in Tornado Alley. Families are being gruesomely murdered at the same location as where tornados touch down. The main character, a police chief, is facing family problems of his own that may be related to the murders. Eventually the killer begins to stalk the police chief and his daughter."
Wendy Elizabeth Salomon, Resident Scholar
|"In the midst of a killer storm, another type of killer is loose. He chooses his victims where the wind takes him. Subtle at first, he makes it appear the dead are victims of flying debris. Chief Charlie Grover's intuition tells him otherwise. As he views the scene with a policeman's eye, he becomes convinced something far more sinister than Mother Nature on a rampage is at work. He looks for a pattern in the casualties of recent tornadoes, and finds one. Chief Grover has his hands full, living in Tornado Alley, battling a brutal serial killer, and single-handedly raising a histrionic daughter who bounces between adolescent parental hatred and almost sappy love for her widower father.
Storm chasers abound in the Midwest and down into Texas. With some, it becomes an obsession. Charlie Grover finds a true devotee in an attractive young lady, the first woman to turn his head since his wife died years earlier. Now, learning about tornadoes is both business and pleasure to him. He needs to know how the killer's mind works. Plus, he has old wounds to heal where his father --- another storm chaser --- is concerned. Evidence left at the crime scene causes the hairs on his neck to bristle. Could his dad be the one he is after?
THE BREATHTAKER takes a hard look at how years of unrelenting child abuse can warp a mind, how the fury left in the place of lost innocence grows like a cancer and spreads into a consuming rage. Here, it pushes the victim of the abuse over the edge and he strikes back --- at anyone in his way. He has lost the ability to maintain normal relationships. Killing dominates his every thought. And tornadoes whip him into a frenzy."
danzel, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of The Breathtaker|
Our unique search engine provides a wealth of detail about books by breaking them down into many different literary elements, all of which are searchable (click here).
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Composition of Book
descript. of violence and chases - 10%
Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives - 40%
Feelings, relationships, character bio/development - 36.7%
How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) - 13.3%
Tone of story
- suspenseful (sophisticated fear)
How difficult to spot villain?
Time/era of story:
- present (2000-2010)
Disaster, natural or nuclear
What % of story relates directly
to the mystery, not the subplot?
Murder of certain profession?
- "All in the family" murder
Misc. Murder Plotlets
- Proving innocence of very obvious suspect
- Big focus on forensic evidence
- Big focus on autopsies
- Killer purposely leaves clues
Kind of investigator
- police procedural, American
Kid or adult book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Any non-mystery subplot?
- natural disaster
Murder Mystery (killer unknown)
Sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
How much of work is main antagonist actually present in:
- a moderate amount
Motive of antagonist
How sensitive is this character?
- hard edged
Sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Smarter than most other characters
- mostly 3rd
Accounts of torture and death?
- moderately detailed references to deaths
How many deaths?
- 8 or more
Click here for more information about this book
Alice Blanchard Resident Scholar Profiles|
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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