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The Killing Season: A Novel (Carter Blake) Paperback – February 1, 2016
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“British author Cross makes a spectacular U.S. debut with this harrowing thriller. The gripping, intense pace and the intriguing characters will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Hope for a sequel!”
- Library Journal (starred review)
“My kind of book.”
- Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Mason Cross has created an enigmatic character in Carter Blake. The writing is taut, intelligent, oozes suspense. A highly impressive debut novel.”
- Matt Hilton, author of the bestselling Joe Hunter thrillers
“Keeps the pace breakneck, the suspense high, and the body-count higher.”
“Pulse-pounding. Mason Cross launches into The Killing Season with no-holds-barred, as he deftly combines an adrenaline rush plot with one of the best new series characters since Jack Reacher. Prepare to read all night.”
- Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
Mason Cross is the author of The Killing Season and The Samaritan. You can find out more by visiting his website at masoncross.net. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland.
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Carter has little backstory to this point as he is called upon to join an FBI task force searching for Caleb Wardell, "the Chicago Sniper", who has escaped jail and is planning to continue his deadly serial killing. Of course, being an outsider without law enforcement credentials makes him an unwelcome addition except for Elaine Banner, an ambitious Special Agent, more willing to trust Blake as things unfold than just following "the book".
Carter employs "tricks of the trade", an insightful intuition, and just focused people skills to track and/or predict where Wardell may strike next as he hopscotches around the country. For his part, Wardell, despite being a depraved serial killer without a conscience, is intelligent enough to engage in a cat and mouse pursuit with Blake and Banner as he begins executing his evil plan. But who is the behind-the-scenes accomplice of this stone-cold killer and what is his/her motive? Soon Blake is not sure who to trust as he and Banner are ordered off the chase. And who is Wardell's ultimate target and why? These questions are all answered in a pulse pounding conclusion that will have readers stopping to catch their breath.
"The Killing Season" is well written and executed for a debut novel and the Carter Blake character has great promise to develop a wide following of fans of the action/thriller suspense genre. And similar to the Jack Reacher series, a conflict inevitably arises spotlighting the bureaucratic "by the book" form of justice and the "no holds barred" form of street justice--often highlighting how modern rules of engagement and judicial restraints leave some criminals "untouchable" until a loner who doesn't play by all the rules appears to exact justice of a different kind. I greatly enjoyed this debut novel and I can recommend it and the planned series to fans of action thrillers.
Also working the case is Elaine Banner, a up-and-coming agent who is put as second in charge of the manhunt. Although at first she resents Carter being their, she soon realizes that if they want to capture their man, they need Carter.
I admit that I did not think I was going to like this book. I thought it was going to be a guys book. Guns, violence, war, politics. I was stuck with my reverse sexist idea. This book completely proved me wrong. The story was riveting. I couldn't wait to follow along. The POV changes from Carter to Banner to the Serial killer. It was so interesting being in each of their minds. Carter and Banner were both very relatable characters and the bad guy was a bad guy, but he was not one dimensional. He had depth.
The only reason this book received 4 stars and not 5 is because the end was way to simple to figure out. I think it was suppose to be a big twist, but you could see it a mile away. That did not hinder my reading experience though. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers or profiling type books!
Mason Cross does just about everything right with this book. Both the killer and the man tasked to chase him down are intelligent, which makes it exciting to follow the chase and watch them try to anticipate each other. Carter Blake is a bit of a cypher but his status as an outsider leads to wariness from the FBI team he’s assigned to help. It also frees him from bureaucratic entanglements in hunting for the killer. The nice touch here is that the FBI is not portrayed as a bunch of bumbling idiots, but as what it is; a bureaucratic organization with skilled people but one that has to answer to multiple masters and try to accomplish multiple goals. They have to anticipate and cover several possible striking spots for the sniper and track down every lead. Blake is able to follow his instincts. His skill earns him respect and some degree of trust, but it doesn’t free the FBI from the responsibility to cover all contingencies. Agent Banner learns to trust Blake’s skills and instincts but at the risk of her own FBI career.
The scenes of the kills by Caleb Wardell are tense in their buildup and exciting when they explode into action. The gunfights are intense and will have you turning the page as fast as you can read. Cross does a great job of conveying the panic that is felt with a sniper on the loose, especially when no one is sure of his next target.
The added level of complexity in this book is when it becomes clear that there is another agenda at work here beyond Caleb Wardell’s own twisted one. This secondary hurdle for Blake to overcome adds to the enjoyment and satisfaction as the book races to its conclusion.
The Killing Season is a great start to a new action series and Mason Cross is an author to keep an eye on. Highly recommended.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.