However, I have stuck with the promise to myself that I'd stay with the TBR Challenge. This month I think the theme was to catch up on a series. Since it's been documented that finding particular books in my own TBR is like finding a pin in the Everglades, I chose to vary on the theme and just catch up on books by a favorite author of mine, Allison Brennan. The Kill is the third in her Predator Thriller series, and before I read it, I honestly didn't know if I'd read any of the others (The Prey and The Hunt). Funny thing, though: yesterday, while I was relocating the 2/3 of my TBR that's here in what used to be my office (soon to be Mom's bedroom) to a storage unit, I unearthed the first book, The Prey. Ah well.
|(image from www.barnesandnoble.com)|
As the director of the FBI's Trace Evidence and Materials Analysis department, Olivia St. Martin has settled into a life where there are no surprises, no thrills and definitely no room for romance. She's quite satisfied in her role, if not a bit lonely, which is better than opening up to people who may want to get to know her more. That can only lead to disaster, especially when they find out that she still subconsciously blames herself for her elder sister's murder when they were kids. They may have caught Brian Harrison Hall, and Olivia has attended each one of his parole hearings to ensure that he stays locked up, but Olivia still lives with the nightmare of the day Missy was taken in front of her own eyes and subsequently killed.
Olivia's comfort in her work comes to a screeching halt when the evidence against Hall is overturned and he becomes a free man. As the only witness on the day Missy went missing, could it be possible that Olivia helped to put an innocent man away?
Seattle police detective Zack Travis lives for his job, and he's good at it. Maybe that's why he's already survived one divorce and there aren't exactly any future Mrs. Travis contestants on the immediate horizon. He cannot ignore the immense satisfaction of a case closed, but as he stares at the body of a nine-year-old girl who should be home in the care of her family, not being loaded up for transport to the morgue, his hackles raise at the thought that this was only going to get worse. The obvious pleasure the killer had taken in doing ungodly things to this poor kid all but screamed that it wasn't his first, and there would definitely be more. As the days go on and another body turns up, Zack knows that sleep is going to become a foreign word.
Olivia's guilt complex forces her to start looking into other murders, solved and unsolved, who fit the same MO as Missy's, and what she finds is startling. They span 13 years, across the country, with the most recent happening in Seattle. Even if she has to give up a job that she loves, she knows what she's gotta do now -- find the real killer. And so she boards a plane for Seattle, intent on finagling a way into the current investigation any way she can. Posing as an FBI agent, not just the scientist she really is, Olivia makes Zack's acquaintance as they search for what is apparently the same killer in all of these murders.
What follows is an oh-my-God-I've-got-to-get-Mom's-room-ready-but-this-just-another-page kinda read. Yeah, I went there. The Kill is why I love not only suspense, but romantic suspense, when it's done right. Ramping the action and thriller aspect up with each page, while remaining true to the characters and letting us bleed just a little with every heartbreak or disappointment. Olivia may want to come across as subtle, not drawing any attention, but her sense of doing the right thing is nearly her motto. Ok, so she stretched it a bit about her role in the investigation that's brought her to Zack's doorstep -- but she did have field agent experience, so it wasn't a total lie. Zack may not be a totally by-the-books kinda guy, but he'll do what it takes to close a case. And that's where Zack and Olivia make a strong couple. But this killer is going to put them through their paces just a bit, stretch out their limitations, and damnit, they'll work for it. He's just not ready to be caught yet.
I can't go on anymore. I'll either wax poetic, or hyperventilate. Best read of the month for me. Well, except maybe for the book I finished this morning, but that's another post.