A juggernaut of a serial killer stalks Akron, Ohio, in this gripping police thriller.
In his years as the Akron Police Department’s top homicide investigator, Rob Fontenot has never seen a grislier crime scene: A couple out for their high-school prom, both of them raped and murdered and posed in an obscene tableau. More victim–a man found broken and twisted into an impossible shape, a pawnshop owner squashed like a bug, a male newspaper columnist raped and terrorized but allowed to live so he can publicize the perp’s Nietzschean ravings–attest to the killer’s strength and brutality. A frightened public dubs him â€œChaos,” but readers soon know him as ex-high school all-star Eddie Morton. Familiarity doesn’t lessen the fearsomeness of this cunning sadist, a muscled-up boxer with a horrific back story who depends on a precariously blended cocktail of antidepressants, steroids and PCP to keep his well-stoked rage under control. As the bodies pile up, Rob and fetching rookie detective Lauren Reynolds try to fathom the sociopath’s mind, unaware that Chaos has a history with Rob that soon brings the two cops into his cross hairs. Grimes, an FBI veteran, immerses readers in the art and science of everything from filing a report to clearing a room of a hidden suspect or subduing a violent felon. There’s plenty of engrossing procedural and taut action, but the supple prose also imparts real depth to his subtly drawn characters. Rob copes with an impending divorce, his mother’s creeping schizophrenia and the simmering resentments of his ne’er-do-well brother; Lauren grapples with a gnawing sense of inadequacy that blooms when she loses her gun to a robber. Even the junkie lowlifes of Akron’s mean streets–yes, Akron, too, has sleazy atmospherics–receive sympathetic, three-dimensional portraits.
A sterling, suspenseful debut, with a villain to, er, die for.