- File Size: 923 KB
- Print Length: 327 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1771279095
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing; 1 edition (February 7, 2017)
- Publication Date: February 7, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01N9RJH0X
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,289,490 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The story begins by introducing us to Homicide Detective Rachel Hood who is obsessed with finding a serial killer who is loose and terrorizing Snug Harbor, Ohio. Four years earlier this killer began a pattern of abducting one woman on the summer solstice and killing another in a twisted, ritualistic ceremony. As a sick "signature" to the deed, the perpetrator would leave a ragdoll in the clutches of the dead woman which was made from the clothes of a previous victim. Not only was this act disturbing and terrifying, but it was also an obvious baiting of the police who had virtually all but given up on ever solving this case.
Determined Detective Rachel Hood has her own professional obligation to solve this case, but also a very personal motive as her very own sister is one of the abducted victims. To make things even more intriguing, Rachel Hood is a psychic empath and she feels the acute pain of the victims, even though she can do nothing to stop their agonizing fate. Rachel is soon teamed up with a former flame, FBI Agent Nick Draven, who is an adept profiler and has some secrets of his own. The sparks ignite between these two in a variety of ways as they virtually race against time to catch a sadistic killer before this year's summer solstice. Will they stop the madness in time? Or will this perverted game of cat and mouse continue as a psychopathic killer roams free?
The plot of this story is very fast moving and will keep the reader deeply captivated and engaged. Excellent thrillers are characterized by their unique ability to spawn feelings of excitement, suspense, shock and nervous anticipation. This novel thoroughly accomplishes such a prerequisite and has all of these elements in spades. Also, using the summer solstice as the "deadline" date to solve the investigation greatly enhances the anxious mood of the tale and is a clever literary device. The plot is further augmented as the author juxtaposes catholicism with psychic abilities and witchcraft. This is not merely done as a cheap trick devised to garner a reaction from the reading audience however. It is clearly a method of exploring the deep spirituality which is embodied within all of humanity in a variety of fashions. It also presents the conflict which inevitably takes place when opposing views and beliefs come head to head. This deep thematic context is supported by an action packed and totally electrifying story.
The plot of the novel is certainly top-notch, but so is the character development. While a number of different characters are presented, Rachel, Nick and the twisted killer are developed in the most detail. Using a limited omniscient point of view, the reader is allowed access to their innermost thoughts, fears, doubts and motivations. This allows for deep empathy to develop as their various plights, backgrounds and predicaments are explored. Also, the tension created by the incipient romance between Rachel and Nick enhances the suspenseful nature of the story, while at the same time reveals more detail about their personality and character. Another very clever tactic which contributes to the overall thrilling and spellbinding nature of the novel. Complex character development at its best.
There can be little doubt that there are some disturbing graphic scenes and sexual content within this book. As such, I would recommend it to a mature adult audience. However, I found the story to be altogether gripping and captivating. M.J. Labeff is constantly weaving her craft throughout and is an exceptionally talented writer who really knows how to spin a tale. If you love thrillers and beautifully intelligent writing, this book will be right up your alley!
Just under the surface of the main story line is the developing romance between the two main characters, Detective Rachel Hood and FBI Profiler Nick Draven. They’ve met before this adventure begins, and Nick is anxious to rekindle the feelings from that early encounter. Rachel is focused on solving the mystery and rescuing captive women—including her own sister—who are being held captive by a pathologically deranged killer. Add to that the fact that Rachel is a psychic empath who feels vividly and painfully the torture of each victim, even to the extent that bloody stab wounds actually appear on her flesh.
Rachel’s rebuffs to Nicks amorous suggestions cause Nick to increase his efforts to win her over. At times his actions border on the stereotypical male obsessed with seduction, but there’s much more to it than that. Like Rachel, Nick’s anything but typical. A highly skilled profiler and, just as importantly, he’s a witch, with secret paranormal skills of his own.
But here’s the thing. LaBeff manages to present these extraordinary characters as real people, with plenty of faults and missteps, and that makes them highly relatable. We like and root for them both, and we’re comfortably in their heads the whole time. In fact, we experience firsthand the feelings and thoughts of a number of characters in this story, including one of the victims, a priest of questionable moral character, and the crazed killer. All are more complex that they seem.
Despite the banter between Rachel and Nick early on, this is a dark story. And it’s so graphic in spots that Rachel’s wounds and the killer’s ritual torture are painful to look at. Yes, I said, “look at.” We see it all. LaBeff’s descriptions are so detailed and vivid that we can feel all the emotions, hold our breath at the danger, or crtinge at the horror of her scenes. She’s put us smack in the middle of things and shows us some of the dark underbelly of the world we live in but would rather not have to acknowledge. It takes a talented writer to pull that off, and M.J. LaBeff measures up.
Top international reviews
It’s approaching mid-summer and Rachel knows the killer will be striking again on the day of the Summer Solstice, so the clock is ticking. She is joined by Nick Draven, a skilled profiler, who specialises in occult crimes, with a psychic secret of his own. The striking chemistry between the pair is obvious, but Rachel needs to keep her head clear to hunt down the killer.
This isn’t a stereotypical serial killer… on the same date each year a woman is killed, another disappears. The murdered bodies are found with pins placed strategically on their bodies, with a chilling and sinister calling card tucked under their arm. The abducted women are still missing.
Now the killer may have made a mistake. One of the victims has survived, but only just. Will she be able to help Rachel and Nick work out what all these women have in common and stop another loss of life?
This psychological thriller literally took my breath away. M J LaBeff has created interesting main characters, with a backstory which keeps you sitting on the edge of your seat. The approaching date when the murders happen adds tension and excitement, you can literally hear the seconds tick away. The plot keeps you gripped from the very first page, and the different dimensions slot together effortlessly so the story is believable and flows seamlessly. The clever script gave a unique and refreshing feel that you don’t often find in books of this genre. I found myself invested heavily in the welfare of Rachel, not just professionally, but in her personal life too.
One of the best crime thrillers I have read, it would make an excellent film adaptation.
Near to death and bleeding from a multitude of puncture wounds, Claudia stumbles into the capable arms of FBI special agent Nick Draven.
Nick and Rachel have history; their suppressed sexual tension hangs thickly in the air and author M J LaBeff capably orchestrates their 'will they? won't they?' tease as they work together on the case.
Events spiral out of control, and we're inexorably dragged into a nerve-jangling race against time. LaBeff does a remarkable job of reaching into the mind of a twisted serial killer and utilises misdirection to good effect - I was wrong-footed on more than one occasion.
This is a thrill ride that festers with unspeakable cruelty and if you are of a weak constitution, turn away now, for there is gore aplenty!
A great psychological thriller by this author.
Looking forward to the next in the series!
The main characters are a dynamic sleuthing team with special skills: they have psychic powers. Rachel Hood is not only a tough, smart and talented detective – she’s a psychic empath. Meaning she can ‘feel’ what other people feel – even the victims’ pain during violent crime. Her partner is Nick Draven, an FBI profiler who specializes in occult cases, with psychic powers of his own.
As unusual as their skills are, both Rachel and Nick are believable, sympathetic characters with great chemistry. It’s a real testament to the author’s talent to be able to balance the supernatural elements, with the tone of a great thriller, and make it all credible and intriguing – but she did it. The plot gets even more tense and emotional – heartbreaking at times – when Rachel has to save her own sister from the clutches of the killer.
The descriptions are excellent – whether they’re details about witchcraft, the locations, profiling, or the crimes themselves. (e.g., the murderer makes rag dolls out of previous victims’ clothing as a souvenir. So creative and original!)
The plotting is tight, with plenty of twists, and the writing is clean and clever. This is a cool, contemporary thriller – and a really promising opening to a great new series. One warning though: the climax is absolutely relentless and terrifying! I’m glad I was on the subway when I read it. I would’ve hated to be alone! Well done!