by Melissa Brown Levine, Midwest Book Review
Designed to Kill does what a good murder
mystery should: It leads the reader to believe one person is the obvious
killer then ends with an unexpected twist. Campbell, who is also the author
of Secret of the Scroll, writes with great pacing in his current novel and
makes use of his journalism background in presenting the facts as the case
A Fine Second Effort!
by Shelley Glodowski, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Chester D. Campbell has done it again! That is, he's written a thoroughly entertaining whodunit which incorporates his military knowledge and, in this case, architectural design. He manages to hang the specter of the wrongfully murdered young architect over a plot that moves along at a rapid clip with plenty of cliffhangers and well-defined characters. Greg McKenzie and his wife Jill are likeable characters who manage to transform retirement into a series of exciting adventures, all the while dealing with aging bodies and minds. A fine second effort!
A Perfect Read for the Beach
by Roberta Austin, Murder & Mayhem Book Club
Mr. Campbell's wealth of experience and military background give him an eye for detail, which is crucial in any mystery. There is a full array of colorful characters, many of whom the reader would not care to meet in real life. The relationship between Greg and Jill lends a special tenderness and it's uplifting to see a love story between a long married couple. The plotting, pace and dialog are perfect in Designed to Kill. This is a perfect read for the beach or a long winter afternoon.
A Thoroughly Satisfying Read
by Brian Kaufman, Roundtable Reviews
Campbell's uncluttered prose is the perfect vehicle for a mystery. The plot is reasonable, and the ending has a nice twist that I didn't see coming. Designed to Kill is a thoroughly satisfying read, the kind of book that will have you anxiously anticipating the author's next book.
Was It Suicide or Murder?
by Norman Goldman, The Best Reviews
Have you ever wondered how safe it is when stepping out on the balcony of a high-rise condo building? Did the contractor strictly follow the architect/engineer's plans or did he try to cut corners in order to save a couple of dollars? You say that could not happen, as there are inspectors who make sure that the plans are followed to a tee. What if the inspectors are not doing their job properly? All of the above and more, including a real estate company that turns out to be a Mafia front, are some of the themes readers will encounter in Chester D. Campbell's latest thriller, Designed To Kill.
We often hear that crime fictions are nothing more than clever escapist puzzles. We start with a crime and then we proceed to find out who did it, why etc. To a certain extent this may be true, however, what differentiates one from the other is the author's ability to provide ample plot twists that effectively sustain the narrative tension until the last chapter. Here is where DESIGNED TO KILL shines, and perhaps Campbell has carved out his own unique literary niche to be followed by more of the McKenzie's adventures into the world of crime investigations.
A Work to Relish
by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader
A Surefire Delight
by Elizabeth K. Burton, Blue Iris Journal
This sophomore mystery novel has a good many things to recommend it, not the least of which is the main character. Greg McKenzie is refreshing in an era when the standard for mysteries seems to be to burden the main characters with as many neuroses and life crises as possible. McKenzie’s deepest angst is his effort to quit smoking.
This book seems more a logic puzzle than a mystery as one reads—until the end. That’s just one of the things that makes it a sure-fire delight for anyone who likes lots of suspense and characters who are a lot like the people next door. There’s a wonderful solidity in both Greg and Jill, a constant sense that you’ve actually met them somewhere and just can’t recall where it was. Unlike many cozies, which this technically is, the reader has no difficulty envisioning Greg confronting criminals and recalcitrant witnesses. These are honest, down-to-earth, church-going folks who just happen to end up in messes most people don’t—and who handle it as one suspects they handle any other mess, with steady confidence and practical wisdom.
Boomers in particular are going to enjoy this book, simply because Greg and Jill are fellow travelers whose life experiences we can share because we were there. That, however, needn’t preclude younger readers from enjoying the book, which is filled with vivid and creative imagery as well as demonstrating superb writing skills. Meet the McKenzies—you’ll be better for the experience.
Lots of Local Color...Thrills and Suspense
by Lorraine Gelly, Reviewing the Evidence
Greg and Jill are well-written characters; their relationship is loving without being cloying and seems right for a long-married couple. Greg is very sharp and by the end of this case it looks like private-eye-dom is in their future plans. This is the second book in the series. The author is a former journalist and intelligence officer in the Air Force. The locale of the book is well described and the reader gets lots of local color as well as thrills and suspense.
Retired Air Force investigator Greg and wife Jill look into the alleged suicide of their best friends' son in Pensacola, FL. Tim, a design engineer, died the night a structural defect accidentally killed two people at his latest project, a luxury condominium development on Perdido Key. Greg's suspicions of murder are reinforced by faulty rebar use, stolen plans, erased files, a missing key, a hot-tempered builder, a slow-to-pay developer, and a God's-gift-to-women inspector. And then two guys beat Greg up. Plenty of domestic details ground the homey narration. For larger collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A Terrific Achievement
by Sallie Bissell, best-selling author of In the Forest of Harm and A Darker Justice
Chester Campbell's Designed to Kill is a terrific achievement. Greg McKenzie is an affable hero, ably abetted by his wife, Jill. It's a cleverly plotted, tightly written book that should add lots of readers to his fan list.
Everything You Could Want in a Mystery
Don Bruns, acclaimed author of Jamaica Blue and Barbados Heat
Don't ever go up in a high rise condo with Chester Campbell. You may never come down. Designed to Kill is everything you could want in a mystery. Suspense, colorful characters and a great surprise ending. Read it, but read it on the ground floor.