Gruesome serial killings, a faked death, kidnapping, pervy sex, mind games and a revenge fantasy—pretty sick, but pretty sensational.
The Acid Man ravishes married women nationwide, then punishes them for their infidelity by pouring acid on their hearts. FBI maverick (with a Ph.D. in mythology) Kelly Feinman tracks him down, then stops him for good by rendering him paraplegic. Nothing less than lurid will do for Pike (The Blind Mirror, 2003, etc.), who concocts literary crack for adrenaline junkies jaded after too many a milder thriller. Acid trip concluded, Kelly next tracks Jimmy, an abducted infant and spawn of the bruising union of sultry, slithery Amy and hubby David, big shot and a royal pain. The marriage is the aftershock of Amy’s dumping of nice-guy Matt, who’s so injured by her betrayal that “everything hurt, even his hair.” After seven months plotting reprisals, Matt acquires a fake beard and AKA, rents a plane, crashes it into the Pacific, scuba-dives up and lies low. He then surfaces to stalk Amy and three-month-old Jimmy (whose DNA proves to have come from him, not David). Hoisting Jimmy over his shoulder and descending a ladder, Lindberg-baby-style, Matt demands diamonds and a million in cash as ransom, gets ’em and once more disappears. Super-savvy Kelly deciphers Matt’s bogus plane crash, connects the dots to Amy and sets out in pursuit. Eerie parallels mark this cat and mouse: he, the love-wounded, elusive mastermind; she, every bit as cunning, smarting from the agony of her divorce.
Gussied up with Kelly’s allusions to world mythology and lines from Dante, this is stylishly written, but it’s the corkscrew plotting and twisted imagination that provide the (guilty) pleasures here.