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July 21, 2013


TO PROBE A BEATING HEART                 5 STARS                 
The Fall of a Serial Killer
by John B. Wren

 In the autumn of 1991, a young girl disappears from a Cleveland Heights, Ohio neighborhood. She was last seen talking to a man as the clouds opened and a rain began. Th e only witness is an elderly woman whose description of the possible kidnapper could fi t any number of people. As police, friends and family search the immediate area for Annette, she is taken farther away and becomes one of the predator's early victims. Over the course of the next several years, along the interstate 90 corridor between Toledo, Ohio, and Albany, New York, a number of young girls disappear without a trace. Jim McLarry, Annette's cousin and a rookie cop with the Cleveland Heights police force, pursues his own investigation of the missing girls in hopes of finding his cousin. As he feeds information to the detectives assigned to the case, McLarry demonstrates his ability as an investigator. Years earlier, a boy, born and raised in difficult circumstances, determined that he will kill his adoptive mother and sister. Each summer a new victim is another rehearsal for his intended goal. As he plans and executes his annual killings, he leaves virtually no clues. Only little mistakes, the dogged determination of the Cleveland Heights cop and the intervention of Annette's extended family, the Clan, lead to Averell's downfall. To Probe a Beating Heart is a fi ctional, but realistic study in the creation of a killer. Th e monster that Averell has become must be stopped and if the authorities cannot make that happen, the Clan will.

Abandoned as a baby, Averell Danker was adopted by a couple who were quite unfit for the role of parents.  We follow him through his growing up years,  a rough and hostile upbringing. Love is unknown to him. He doesn't know what it is.   Averell has another personality, Stelian. After a stint in the military, he became a traveling salesman. His only intent in life was to murder the two people who had hurt him the most in those years when he was growing up.  Those two people were his adoptive mother and his half sister.  He;s not read yet to kill them.  He has to work on the when, where and how he would do it.  He starts practicing on little girls that he picks up off the street.  One little girl in particular, Annette, would possibly be  his downfall.  Why just the one little girl when there had been many.?  She was related to someone who was related to someone,  The Clan.  I don't want to tell you any more about that.  You must read it to find out.  They author, Mr. Wren, weaves a web that allows you into the shocking, intelligent mind of a murderer. I felt like he was more about the suffering and watching his victims fear when he probed them.  The actual dying was just the end of one and the beginning of another. Averell was quite intelligent, or at least I thought.  He planned out his trips and kidnappings with pretty much exact detail. Most of the time he was cool and calm.  I think it was Stelian who helped keep him at least halfway sane.  He remained undetected for many years and after many innocent little girls suffering and dying.  The author leads you slowly and builds you up for each kill.  Danker wanted to see their beating heart and he probed them without mercy. You can feel the fear as you turn the pages.  The author has built the suspense up so slowly, you haven't even realized you are a little scared to turn the page, but you can't help yourself.  You have to know what is going to happen next.  What a page turner!  The author developed the characters well, especially Danker.  It was like you knew him and needed to know him better, to try to understand what made him tick.  An abandoned child turns into a serial killer.   I believe the two main parts to this story was Danker, of course, and the Clan.  I'm sure you want to know who the Clan is and what part they had in Danker's life.  I suggest you pick up this book and read it, if you dare.  It is a fabulous read. I must say that when I read the title, I sure didn't think about a serial killer.  That was a big surprise.

I would give this book 5 STARS

I was given a complimentary copy of TO PROBE A BEATING HEART by the author, John B. Wren for an honest review.

The cover is magnificent.  Couldn't have been better

Born in Pittsburgh, PA, raised in Western New York State, educated in Northeast Ohio and resides in Northern Virginia, Wren began his writing career in 2009, publishing his first novel, "To Probe A Beating Heart", in 2011. He followed with his second, "Killing His Fear", in 2012 and is currently planning to release his third book, "Darryl's Reunion", in the summer of 2013.

He worked as a design engineer in the construction industry for over 40 years and now in semi retirement spends his free time writing. His novels are in the Thriller and Mystery genres and are available through Amazon, Create Space and his web site,


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