A psychiatrist and homicide profiler learns more about his mentor than he ever wanted to know.
Dr. Joel Ashman consults regularly for the Seattle PD—studying murder scenes, creating profiles of the killers. His latest case, though, is different; this time, it’s personal. Ashman’s mentor and former partner Stanley Kolberg has been found in his office mutilated nearly beyond recognition. Seeing that the good doctor specialized in patients suffering rage and violence issues, there’s no shortage of suspects, but after a little digging, it becomes clear that he wasn’t quite so innocent as first assumed. For one thing, he seems to have had a thing for S&M and routinely included his patients, against their will. For another, these unfortunate patients had a way of showing up dead. The more Ashman and his police counterparts Ethan Devonshire and Claire Shepherd learn about Kolberg, the more it seems he simply got what was coming to him. But between interviewing witnesses and bedding the lovely but vulnerable Shepherd, Ashman’s good-guy façade starts to slip. The clues are subtle, but as Kalla (Pandemic, 2005) lets them drop, his protagonist shifts from helpful doc to highly unreliable narrator. It turns out he’s known the real story all along. Murderer? More like murderers—and the once-tidy little case becomes a tangled mess. Ashman’s transformation does provide a redeeming twist to what, with its stock characters and stale love story, would have been just one more competent but forgettable thriller.
A clever twist on an otherwise familiar tale.