Speak For The Dead

Speak for the DeadThe brutal murders of two young women in the caves along the Mississippi River pull St. Paul Homicide Detective John Santana into a case with all the telltale signs of a serial killer. Except that one of the victims doesn’t fit. 

Santana’s search for answers unearths connections between the first victim, an NTSB accident investigator, and the crash of an airliner off the California coast. He soon finds himself embroiled in a complex investigation that takes him from St. Paul, Minnesota to Washington DC and ultimately to Colombia in a race to thwart a dangerous technology that could cause a global economic meltdown.

In a case fraught with internal and external politics, Santana must speak for the dead, while trying to finally make peace with the past.

When St. Paul Homicide Detective John Santana is assigned a cold case involving the murder of an environmental engineer, he begins to see connections to another case he once investigated—the murder of a young Native American woman.

But in seeking justice for the victims, it soon becomes clear that someone wants to keep their deaths buried, someone very cunning . . . and very deadly. In his quest to hunt down the killer before he strikes again, Santana must confront his own inner darkness and a conspiracy that threatens his life and the life of the woman he loves.

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Praise for Speak For The Dead

"In Valen's solid seventh novel featuring St. Paul homicide detective John Santana (after 2015's The Darkness Hunter), Santana looks into the stabbing murder of Kim Austin, an accident investigator for the National Transportation Board, whose body was found buried in a cave along the Mississippi River . . . She had been part of a team examining the crash of an airliner off the coast of California that killed 217 people two months before the conference . . . The trail eventually takes the dogged detective to Colombia, where he confronts el Lobo, a contract killer, in a dramatic showdown . . . "
—Publisher's Weekly 

". . . Christopher Valen has clearly done his research into police investigations, corporate espionage, vehicular and phone hacking and other complex subjects . . . Side characters were well-drawn; Reyna Tran in particular was absolutely fascinating . . . Likewise, the plot was thoroughly engrossing . . . I genuinely had no idea who the killer was right up until the reveal . . . I would highly recommend Speak For The Dead to fans of James Patterson, John Grisham, and other top legal and crime thrillers; readers who enjoy these great authors will not be disappointed."
—Caitlyn Lynch, Reader's Favorite

" . . . Valen slips in a lot of red herrings that keep the reader guessing. In the middle of the plot is beautiful, flirty, Reyna Tran, one of the most intriguing characters to walk onto a page in awhile. Is she friend or foe, would-be lover or killer? She's unreadable and that makes a lot of fun for readers. Almost as chilling as the murders in Speak For The Dead is what Santana learns about the terrors of spoofing, a way for bad guys to hack into and take over phones, airplane navigation systems and other devices. You'll start to look at your cellphone in a new way. As usual, Valen conveys a sense of place, from the damp chill of the river caves to the beauty of nature along the St. Croix River."
—MaryAnn Grossmann, St. Paul Pioneer Press


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