A scarred FBI agent faces her own past as well as a strange teen’s demons as she tracks a bloodthirsty serial killer.
Smoky Barrett has her hands full. Not only is she grieving her own brutal rape and the murder of her husband and daughter, she’s raising silent Bonnie, the ten-year-old daughter of a friend who was also the killer’s victim. When her boss offers her a chance to leave the field and teach, she is tempted. She wants to give both Bonnie and herself a chance at recovery. But she’s still on the job when the call comes in. A teenage girl, covered in blood and holding a gun to her head, asks for Smoky. Smoky talks young Sarah into relinquishing the gun, and removes her from the home where her family has been slaughtered. But not before promising to read the girl’s diary, which details a mysterious man she calls “The Stranger.” Has there really been a stalker bringing tragedy to Sarah’s life? When other bodies start stacking up, Smoky has no choice but to continue with the case, despite the cost to her own recovery, her adopted daughter and her coterie of loyal friends. In this follow-up to Shadow Man (2006), the author never strays far from standard serial-killer formula. Smoky may no longer be beautiful, but she’s a classically spunky heroine, as well as an ace with a gun. Her elusive prey is a chilling monster who leaves messages (“THIS PLACE = JUSTICE”) in his victims’ blood and is smart enough to confuse the FBI’s profilers.
All the expected thrills in a readable package.