Murder in Missoula

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Pub Date 19 Sep 2015 | Archive Date 01 Oct 2016


Retired DEA agent Joe Nicoletti is a man in need of a change. Worn and weary from a career filled with criminals and violence, he dreams of living his life in peace and tranquility. He dreams of moving far from Washington, D.C., where every street reminds him of the sudden death of his wife, Kristen. He dreams of a town where art and literature dominate the conversations at the local coffee shop.

When an old friend offers him a faculty position at the University of Montana it seems his dreams are about to come true. He never dreamed he would have a second chance at love. He never dreamed he would become the prime suspect in a high-profile murder case. He never dreamed he would be forced to undertake the most important investigation of his life.

But dreams can turn into nightmares when there is Murder in Missoula.

Retired DEA agent Joe Nicoletti is a man in need of a change. Worn and weary from a career filled with criminals and violence, he dreams of living his life in peace and tranquility. He dreams of...

Advance Praise

“A high class thriller” 5 Stars, Father Ted, Verified Purchase, Amazon, UK.

At last, a full story with real characters and a well-constructed plot. A serial killer is on the loose. A retired cop with a brain arrives in town to check out a professorship at the local college. The local cops are just as you would expect and pursue the wrong suspect. There’s a stranger in town – it must be him! Definitely the best thriller I’ve read during this week’s holiday. Thank you Mr. Giliotti – my faith in the indie writer has been restored.

“Loved it.”  5 Stars, Nina Meissler, Verified Purchase, Amazon.

It’s been a long time since I’ve stayed up to 3 a.m., biting my nails and unable to put a book down. Real & likeable characters…A clever murderer you pity and hate. Good plot, fast paced. I want another one from this author.

Reviewed by S.D. Britt, San Francisco Book Review, (4 Stars)

“He never carried the scent of business to the table of pleasure.”

Loaner Charles Durbin, pet groomer and provider of all icky feelings, is fairly new to the small Montana town. This fresh start provides him with an opportunity to obscure his past and shield his immoralities from his new relationships. But as with any depraved person, he has already set his morbid sights on Marie-Justine and her best friend Anne.

Anne, a Missoula native, and freshly divorced Marie-Justine, have been best friends for years and are all but sisters. A college professor, Marie-Justine yearns for independence, but in the same turn is afraid of it. Nearly 24 hours after her divorce finalizing, she finds herself celebrating with retired DEA agent, Joe Nicoletti. He’s immediately smitten with her, seeing that she resembles his deceased wife, but soon he finds he’s more than attracted to her looks and they begin to fall in love.

In the few short days Nicoletti and Marie-Justine have been acquainted, a tragedy befalls Missoula, where fate unites good and evil together in an instant. Has Nicoletti arrived in Missoula and into Marie-Justine’s life in the nick of time to foil Charles Durbin’s malicious plan? Will the war against a serial killer be waged or prevented before it’s begun.

With a Law & Order: SVU quality, Murder in Missoula can easily be categorized as a classic murder-mystery novel, having a synonymous theme of hero versus villain, as the reader hopes good will triumph over evil. Although the villain was apparent, the chase to implicate and prevent him from doing further damage was riveting, challenging Nicoletti’s intuitiveness to be two steps ahead of Durbin.

Laurence Giliotti created several first-person voices throughout the novel, switching from dark and wicked to innocent and pure, an ability Giliotti practiced effortlessly. Charles Durbin’s active voice was concurrently interesting and disturbing to read, while Marie-Justine’s provided hope. Giliotti, author of the Inspector Gambrelli Mystery Series, deservedly made room for himself on the murder-mystery bookshelf.

Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews, A swiftly paced procedural that introduces a formidable detective.

A retired, widowed Drug Enforcement Administration agent looking to start a new life finds himself the prime suspect in a string of murders plaguing a college town.

The arrival of Joe Nicoletti in Missoula, Montana, coincides with the discovery of a missing woman’s body, and that’s just the first in a series of unfortunate (but plausible) coincidences that set this breakneck contemporary procedural in motion. Nicoletti arrives in Missoula as a candidate to inaugurate a new criminology program at the University of Montana. There, he meets a newly divorced professor, Marie-Justine Junot, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his late wife (“Her high cheekbones and dark eyes stirred a memory inside Nicoletti”). He is given a less than warm greeting by the local police chief, who questions the connection between Nicoletti’s arrival in town and the discovery of the dead woman, whose disappearance months before coincided with Nicoletti’s guest lecture stint at a university conference. “Just an interesting coincidence,” the chief cryptically remarks. Meanwhile the actual killer, dog groomer Charles Durbin, methodically stalks his next victims. Giliotti (Gambrelli and the Prosecutor, 2015) quickly reveals the predator’s identity, building suspense in short, punchy chapters that advance the story through interweaved concurrent scenes that unfold from different perspectives. In one chapter, Marie-Justine’s suspicious elderly neighbor confronts Nicoletti on the street. In the next, Giliotti rewinds as an unwitting Marie-Justine observes the encounter outside her patio door (“She was curious whom Mrs. Jaeger was accosting”). This gives the story an inexorable, page turning momentum that carries the reader through to the climactic confrontation. Nicoletti is not a flashy character, but he is an impressive detective with the capture of two serial killers to his credit (“which…puts you in an exclusive club having only one member,” he is praised). Durbin is a suitably creepy villain with a penchant for breaking into his victims’ homes while they are out and rummaging through their personal belongings. So it is probably best that most of the murders, including one unnerving Psycho-like shocker, occur “offstage,” leaving the grisly details to the reader’s imagination.

Reviewed by Jane Manaster, Manhattan Book Review (5 Stars)

Joe Nicoletti is a retired DEA agent taking a break from D.C. to participate in a conference in Missoula, MT. He meets up with a couple of former colleagues but it is his introduction to Justine, an enchanting young University of Montana professor – who reminds him of his late wife – that launches the plot…

Murder in Missoula scores high for a well-defined plot with enough twists to be compelling…realistic characters…and the books clarity is enhanced by realistic dialogue carrying the chapters from one scene to the next.

But a word of warning: Avoid reading the book at night if home alone!

“A high class thriller” 5 Stars, Father Ted, Verified Purchase, Amazon, UK.

At last, a full story with real characters and a well-constructed plot. A serial killer is on the loose. A retired cop with...

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ISBN 9780990926627

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