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Settling the Score
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-570-3
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
eBook Length: 428 Pages
Published: April 2008

From inside the flap

This erotic murder mystery introduces a host of interesting characters whose sexual histories and preferences are richly revealed in their backstories. We learn of their discovery of sexual excitement and their earliest adult experimentation. By delving into their past, we become able to understand something of who they are today. The pieces fit, as we learn of their current fantasies and behaviors: all hot, some kinky. This is a story of sexually liberated adults enjoying wild parties and no-holds-barred orgies. We experience the characters’ unrestrained mixing and matching and feel their animal lust and tender love. These people interact in a number of exotic places and imaginative ways, but in the forefront of all the action is a young woman named Niki.

Niki is acknowledged by the others as the wild one in the group. This woman is not afraid to push the limits, and she does not hesitate to take a few of the others along for the ride. Given her extremes, it is not surprising that she becomes implicated in the murder of her former high school’s gym coach: a sex addict who kept a detailed record of all his perverted sexual activities. Niki is in this record. The convoluted criminal investigation touches the lives of many of the story’s characters. The reader is introduced to a few more interesting individuals who add additional spice to the plot. We meet a counselor who has been screwing a social worker in his office, a maid who has been swimming nude in her employer’s pool, and a retired hooker who quit that night job when she became pregnant.

There are multiple past events that must be considered in the case, as well as a number of individuals. To keep this all straight in his mind, Detective Tanner hangs a paper on his office wall and draws out a timeline. By writing entries on this line he keeps his thinking on track, while helping the reader picture the sequence of events and how the individuals fit into it. Along the way there is a second murder. The police realize that someone is attempting to conceal evidence.

The investigation is complicated by Niki’s sexual involvement with the homicide detective’s son. A further complication is the surprising discovery that the murder weapon is the detective’s personal revolver. Although he has no motive, Detective Tanner is officially taken off the case. The investigation of who stole the detective’s pistol from his bedroom closet leads to Niki and turns her into a prime suspect. We know that she is capable of extreme sexual behavior, but is she capable of two murders? She was known to be angry with the devious coach, so did she finally settle the score? And if she did not, who did?

Reviews and Awards

4.0 out of 5 stars Kudos for Robert Birch's Sexy Suspense Novel !!, June 10, 2003
By S. Adkins "booklover"(Los Alamitos, CA USA) -
Finally here: A can't-put-down who-done-it thriller that is filled with graphic "sizzling hot" images, credible lifelike situations, and interesting characters described in realistic case-study features, which creates captivating introductions as the story unfolds.

The author, Robert Birch, is a psychologist and marital/sex therapist, yet he smoothly combines his professional talent with his gift of storytelling in this racy first full-length novel. The reader becomes intimately acquainted with each character, perhaps due to Birch's case-study style of introductions (which is always an interesting read; right?) -- although just when you think you know all the juicy (and sexy!) details on everyone, Wham!! The culprit of the crime is a definite surprise...which is what a successful mystery is all about.

Fellow readers: sit tight, fasten your seatbelts, and pay attention...this is a fun ride! Highly recommended -- but also not for the squeamish: Robert Birch utilizes his knowledge as a sex therapist throughout the book and few people will walk away from this read without learning a thing or two...or three. Fun, fun, fun!!

Mr. Robert Birch, do we get an encore?

5.0 out of 5 stars Settling the Score, July 22, 2002
By A Customer
A compelling and sexually provocative mystery as told by a cast
of substantive characters.
The author has skillfully infused this fictional tale with humor
and intrigue, all the while providing us with real insight into
human/sexual nature that this reader has found extremely fascinating, and helpful.
Don't Pass It Up!

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, dirty and absorbing, June 10, 2003
By A Customer
In "Settling the Score," author Birch does a nice job of weaving erotic fiction with a complex and tightly-knit murder mystery plot. In too many erotic novels, the sex is gratuitous and the plot merely a lame excuse for the sex scenes. In "Settling the Score," though, Birch, a sex therapist, not only has his characters linked by their varied and realistic past and present sexual liasions, but explores the way that each character's sexuality became what it and relates that to each character's overall personality and actions in the novel. The sex is organic to the action.

I liked the variety of the sex scenes and his ability to sensitively portray, among others, the shy, the repressed, those looking for love, the twisted and all sorts of real human types.

Settling the Score (Excerpt)