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Looking Glass (The Naturalist Series) Paperback – March 13, 2018
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About the Author
Andrew Mayne is the author of The Naturalist and Angel Killer and the star of A&E’s Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne. He is also a magician who started his first world tour as an illusionist when he was a teenager and went on to work behind the scenes for Penn & Teller, David Blaine, and David Copperfield. Ranked as the fifth bestselling independent author of the year by Amazon UK, Andrew currently hosts the Weird Things podcast. For more on him and his work, visit www.AndrewMayne.com.
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The antagonist in this novel was also fascinating and different. The very nature of the way Dr. Cray identifies killers means he doesn't locate run-of-the-mill sociopaths. I greatly appreciate, however, that the author didn't let the novel follow the exact same path as the first one--this killer has a different personality, a different set of circumstances, and so the finale is very different.
In the first novel, Dr. Cray was naive and just learning about this dark world. In this novel, he's more experienced and beginning to refine his craft (that is, hunting serial killers). Now he's all set up and ready for the third novel. I can't wait to see where he goes next.
Unquestionably this book is a very good thriller: think Jonathan Kellerman with fewer interviews, a sprinkling of “spook” (as in spy, mysterious agencies with alphabet-letter titles) stuff, and some really cool science (fluorescent bacteria! CSI, eat your heart out!). The villain is certainly a quintessence of Evil, and the hunt for him is definitely suspenseful. However, at least for me, the book did not reach the almost painful level of intensity that the first volume did, nor was the character development as complex. In short, very good, yes; outstanding, no. Mayne can do better.
To my delight, Looking Glass has a darker, more sinister feel to it. Maybe it is that the killer targeting kids, maybe it is that a shadowy arm of the government enabling the killer, maybe it was the disturbingly twisted details of the crime scenes, or that my beloved Theo Cray actually grew a set and became more disciplined, careful and calculated. Whatever it was the combination payed off and delighted me. Yeah, dark and delightful really do go together, at least for me.
Theo Cray has grown from the likable, yet naive, un-hero to better equipped more controlled seeker of justice. Theo walked rather than stumbled into this hunt of the Toy Man, thought to be an urban myth but who turns out to be all too real, preying upon children of inner cities.
As with the first in this series, I didn't always understand every detail of the science but appreciated it none the less, after all, we are following a computation biologist who uses science to track his prey. The science and the details are as much a part of the story as the characters. The author continues to push boundaries of reality in creating this thrilling, fast paced and completely unique story that will stay with me for a long, long while. If you are a stickler for realism, details grounded in absolute fact and can't handle creative license, then move right along. This requires the reader have the ability to stretch their imagination and allow the author to work his magic.