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Blackhearted serial killer vs. stouthearted female FBI agent, Round Two.

In Kava’s debut (A Perfect Evil, 2000), Agent Maggie O’Dell out-pointed Albert (The Collector) Stuckey and sent him up the river—but, alas, not permanently. On his way to the slammer, monstrous, misogynistic, and ever-so-opportunistic Stuckey takes advantage of jailer ineptitude and breaks free. A single thought then dominates his cankered brain: payback. Maggie O’Dell must be made to suffer in spades for the ignominious defeat inflicted on so eminent an evil genius. No hurry, though. In addition to being endlessly wicked, Stuckey is prodigiously rich; early on, before his schizoid self was outed, he made several (nonhomicidal) killings in the stock market. He can afford to luxuriate in the prospect of requited vengefulness, play the kind of cat-and-mouse game certain types of serial killers are reputed to get off on (or so their creators would have us believe). So a pretty young woman is kidnapped, raped, and brutally murdered after delivering pizza to Maggie; another who helped her select the perfect bottle of wine meets a similarly horrific fate. Soon enough Maggie gets the message. She’s being taunted. Actually, she’s being stalked in a particularly grisly way. Women who have had anything to do with her, no matter how tenuously, are being marked by Stuckey as potential prey in order to terrorize his real target. Maggie now is as frightened as Stuckey wants her to be. But Maggie frightened is Maggie with her competitive juices in full flow. Strike her, and she’ll strike back hard—as unlucky Stuckey discovers to his cost in a much-too-predictable denouement.

Butchery in abundance, gore galore, but Stuckey the Collector can’t carry the body bags for Hannibal the Cannibal.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-55166-835-1
Page count: 408pp
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2001


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