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Damaged (Maggie O'Dell) by Alex Kava
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Damaged (Maggie O'Dell) (edition 2011)

by Alex Kava

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Member:grandville.celia
Title:Damaged (Maggie O'Dell)
Authors:Alex Kava
Info:Anchor (2011), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Damaged by Alex Kava

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This thriller is a fast read. Not because it’s short, but because it’s so hard to put down non-stop action. The short chapters, mostly five to six pages long, move the reader through the book like the hurricane sweeps through the story.
Hurricane Isaac is heading straight for Pensacola, Florida. It has already hit Jamaica as a category-4 storm, which means its winds were 131 to 155 miles per hour and caused “devastating” damage, killing dozens of people. It soon picks up to a catagory-5 with winds 156 miles per hour or greater and capable of causing “catastrophic” damage.
Some residents of Pensacola—the ones who rode out the last storm—don’t believe it will hit dead on, but most of the area is evacuating. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Bailey, a twenty-seven-year-old Coast Guard rescue swimmer and veteran of Hurricane Katrina, is part of a team who discovers a floating cooler of horror, full of body parts. They’re not even all from the same body.
Meanwhile…Maggie O’Dell, FBI special agent and profiler, returns from a bloody shootout to be sent by her unfriendly boss into the hurricane’s path to help investigate the discovery. No time to recover.
Meanwhile…Colonel Benjamin Platt, an infectious disease expert and a guy Maggie would like to have as more than a friend, is sent to the same area to see if he can figure out what’s happening to cause some mysterious deaths among military patients.
Meanwhile…a funeral director named Scott, who is Elizabeth Bailey’s brother-in-law, is getting himself involved in something that he knows should make him a lot of money. He doesn’t exactly realize what it is though.
The threads are woven together expertly against the backdrop of the impending storm, which is picking up power and heading straight for all these characters. The climax will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Reviewed by Kaye George, author of “Choke” for Suspense Magazine ( )
  suspensemag | Oct 12, 2011 |
Maggie O'Dell doesn't exactly get along with her new boss and he doesn't exactly like her or so it seems so when she is needed in Florida where body parts are found floating in the Gulf Coast - she's sent - no worries about the Cat 5 hurricane heading her way. Meanwhile her friend Col Benjamin Platt also ends up in Florida to assist when the doctors at a military hospital are baffled by a slew of unexplainable sick soldiers - many who succomb to their illnesses. Of course, the two mysteries intertwine and bisect each other.
I like that Platt has become a character in the novels, but has remained on the periphery. I'm not sure I want Maggie to become involved. I think a romantic entanglement will take away from the mysteries and the mysteries are why I read these novels. ( )
  TamiHindes | Oct 2, 2011 |
Kava is a good writer and I have enjoyed many of her previous Maggie O'Dell tales but this one was, literally, forgetable. Damaged was in my TBR pile and it was only when I picked it up and examined the maps that it rang a vague bell as the intriguing name 'Florida panhandle' once again caught my attention.

Maggie is in Pensacola [only in America, sounds like some sort of soft drink] investigating a chest full of body parts the coast guard found out at sea - and at the same time Colonel Benjamin Platt, her love interest, is at the military base. Gulf war veterans are dying there and the place is in lock down - Maggie is unwelcome despite needing access to vital information.

Whats more, a hurricane is heading their way - time to batten down the hatches or, better still, get out of town. naturally though Maggie stays to confront medical mishaps, sinsister and unethical undertakers and murder most foul. A huge dfisappointment, and the most memorable thing about the book was the maps. ( )
  adpaton | Sep 19, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Damaged by Alex Kava was the first book I read in the Maggie O’Dell series and will also be the last. I thought there were too many dramatic circumstances thrown together at the same time (a hurricane, a murderer, an unidentifiable infection) that seemed completely implausible to me. But, none of these plots were developed enough to be intriguing on their own either. In addition, the characters weren’t developed, so I really didn’t have any stake in what happened to them. Typically, I like when you find out how characters are intertwined; however, in Damaged, these connections were also far fetched. The killer makes friends with the hot dog vendor who also happens to be the father-in-law of the killer’s helper and also happens to be the father of the rescue swimmer. There are way too many great mysteries out there to waste your time on Damaged. ( )
  katiemertz | Mar 29, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I found myself a bit disappointed in Kava's newest book, Damaged. I have been a huge Kava fan for a while now and have read every thing she has published. The plot didn't seem as well developed as other books she has written. While I love Maggie O'Dell as a character those characters surrounding her in this book didn't seem as well developed. I think the bottom line for me was that a heightened level of suspense was just not apparent in this book. Still a big fan and hope that the next one will be more in line with her past books. ( )
  tjshoe | Mar 12, 2011 |
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To Phyllis Grann for your pateince, your preseverance, and your wisdom. Heres to new beginnings.
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Elizabeth Bailey didn't like waht she saw.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385531990, Hardcover)

Steve Berry Reviews Damaged

Steve Berry is the author of six thrillers in the bestselling Cotton Malone series (The Templar Legacy, The Alexandria Link, The Venetian Betrayal, The The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Paris Vendetta, and The Emperor's Tomb), and three stand-alone thrillers (The Amber Room, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Third Secret). Read his guest review of Damaged:

Alex Kava is a master. Her heroine, Special Agent Maggie O'Dell, is one of the classic characters of the thriller genre. Maggie's adventures have taken her to small-town America, and into the Catholic Church, bringing her face-to-face with some sick individuals. But that's her job. She's a criminal profiler. And good at it. Now, in Damaged, Maggie is thrust into the eye of an impending monster hurricane to track down another killer.

Alex Kava has a knack for the macabre. This time she hooks the reader when a fishing cooler is found floating in the Gulf of Mexico filled with a human torso, one foot, and three hands, all tightly wrapped in plastic. Despite the fact that a Category 5 hurricane is just off shore, and headed her way, Maggie is sent to investigate. Resources are limited. All law enforcement is focused on evacuation and emergency preparations. It's Maggie's job to find out what's going on, but when she discovers that the remains belong to a man who mysteriously disappeared weeks earlier, after another hurricane hit on Florida’s Atlantic Ocean side, the real trouble begins.

There's a ton more to this story, but I don't want to give away too much. Let's just say that it's unexpected. Once again Alex Kava has concocted a tale similar to speeding at a hundred miles an hour down a giant slalom course, with all its associated twists and turns. The whole thing starts fast and gets faster. Maggie O'Dell is a brilliant and complicated heroine--at once witty, smart, and detailed, but always highly entertaining. Damaged is a book from a writer who knows how to deliver exactly what readers want. Alex Kava is in the top echelon of suspense masters and this one is not to be missed.

Questions for Alex Kava on Damaged

Q: Where did the inspiration for Damaged come from? Why did you decide to send Maggie O’Dell into the path of a deadly hurricane?
A: In spring of 2004 I bought a house on the bay just outside of Pensacola. Six months later Hurricane Ivan hit. Nine months after that, it was Dennis. I’ve lived most of my life in tornado country so I thought I was prepared for hurricanes. The anxiety and anticipation is excruciating. And nothing prepares you for the aftermath. It’s hard to explain. It may sound a bit clichéd but there’s a transformation that takes place when you experience something like that, especially as a community. I’ve been wanting to throw Maggie into the path of a hurricane ever since.

Q: You write in great detail about FBI processes and forensic investigations. How did you do research in these areas?
A: Real experts are still the best sources of information. I've been very fortunate to have contacts in a variety of law enforcement and forensic fields, people I can call or email with questions. Some have become close friends who share details of their cases with me over dinner. I’ve also had the privilege of visiting Quantico, and was able to spend some time down in the Behavioral Science Unit talking to special agents who do every day what I only write about.

What I don’t know, I read, constantly. I now have an extensive library of my own and anyone who checked my laptop’s cache would probably be shocked to see the types of websites I surf on a regular basis.

Q: In Damaged, you write about the black market for human organs. Where did that idea come from and how did you research?
A: Several years ago I read a special report in USA Today about the illegal body parts business. It mentioned a case in Brooklyn involving a body broker and several funeral homes that were stealing tissue and bone from corpses, in some instances, replacing the bones with PVC piping and hiding the theft by sewing the bodies back up. Sometimes entire bodies were stolen instead of being sent to the crematory. The indictment charged that as many as 1,000 bodies may have stolen by this one group.

It fascinated me how greed could literally eviscerate a solemn practice that we take for granted and expect to be treated with dignity and respect.

From then on I started searching for and saving anything I could find on the subject. I read several books including Annie Cheney’s Body Brokers and Kathy Braidhill’s Chop Shop.

Q: Tell us about Maggie O’Dell. Where did the inspiration for her character come from, and is she based on a real life person?
A: I never intended for Maggie to be a series character, so she’s had to evolve and reveal herself to me with each novel. In the beginning with A Perfect Evil Maggie was a tough, young FBI agent driven much more by impulse and passion. She’s matured a bit, though still driven to do the right thing. I think Maggie’s a lot more accepting of who she is and less apologetic of how she goes about doing her job.

She’s not, however, based on any one person and although she and I share some personality traits--our unintentional abuse of fine leather shoes and our love of college football--Maggie’s certainly not my alter ego. For one thing she’s much braver than I am.

Q: Critics and fans alike have found your heroine, Special Agent Maggie O’Dell, very appealing. What is it about her that readers can’t get enough of?
A: I have to admit I’m not sure what it is, because sometimes Maggie drives me crazy. What I hear from readers is they like that Maggie’s not a superhero. They can relate to her. Yes, she might be an excellent profiler but she failed at her marriage and struggles with her personal relationships. She has flaws. She makes mistakes. But the bottom line is that Maggie does the right thing even when it’s not the easy thing, even when it gets her in trouble or puts her in danger. I think readers admire that about her.

Q: What’s next? Can you give us a preview of your next novel, and will we see more of Maggie O’Dell?
A: Maggie will be back in Hotwire. Her boss sends her to the Midwest to investigate cattle mutilations in the area and Maggie stumbles upon a bizarre triple murder of some local teenagers.

(Alex Kava Photo © Deborah Groh Carlin)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When the Coast Guard finds a murdered body in the Gulf of Mexico while preparing for a Category 5 hurricane, Special Agent Maggie O'Dell places herself in the path of the deadly storm to track down the victim's identity and killer.

(summary from another edition)

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