A serial killer specifically targets an FBI agent in this debut crime novel.
Special Agent Nadine Munroe is single by choice, despite all the attention she receives from members of the opposite sex. The reason is because, in her view, it’s hard to find an African-American man who can handle a successful, independent African-American woman. One night, she becomes the target of a very different sort of attention. A text from an unknown number tells her to turn on the TV news, which reports that police have found a woman’s disfigured body on the banks of the Hoover Reservoir in Ohio. The person who sent the text claims responsibility for the murder, calling himself “Osiris,” the “Lord of the Perfect Black,” and identifying Nadine as his “Isis”: “you have blossomed into a radiant Nubian Goddess,” he writes. “The lamb that was sacrificed tonight couldn’t hold a candle to your beauty.” Nadine quickly becomes involved in the Columbus police department’s investigation. She becomes particularly alarmed when she learns that the dead woman was a member of the Kappa Beta Zeta sorority, whose alumni include her friend Leslie Hill—who’s just woken up, kidnapped and imprisoned in complete darkness. Green writes in a colorful, aggressive prose style that mimics the attitudes of his law enforcement characters: “It was a tear fest at the Kappa House.” Overall, though, the quality of the prose is patchy, and some of the character interactions have a somewhat stagy quality. However, there’s also a sense of gallows humor throughout that keeps things moving along. Nadine is an easy heroine to root for, and readers will find Osiris, despite his comic-book-villain motivations, to be inherently intriguing, due in part to his mysterious method of disfiguring his victims. Although Green mostly hews to familiar genre tropes, he ultimately delivers an entertaining reading experience.
An uneven but often enjoyable thriller with a magnetic lead.