A gruesome murderer stalks a tight-knit family of detectives, bringing them to their own personal hell.
Norman’s latest take on Detective Sam Becket (Shimmer, 2009, etc.) echoes earlier stories of the family: Becket and his family appear to be fighting off the unwanted attentions of psychotic serial killer Cal the Hater, aka Jerome Cooper. Cal’s M.O. appears to have changed only slightly while maintaining its grisly edge. The tale begins by emphasizing the Becket family’s cloyingly wholesome methods for dealing with his madness, then takes an unexpected turn when Sam’s wife Grace goes beyond desperate measures to protect herself. Suddenly, Sam’s playing a defensive role, one for which he’s neither trained nor quite prepared. With the entire preachy Becket clan hunkered down together and Sam struggling to play bad cop against Cal, it’s hard to find a sympathetic character in the fray, especially as some of the stakes for some of the suspense sequences are too low to encourage much buy-in to the cast members. Diehard fans will appreciate the ending, which promises another Becket mystery coming soon.
Not exactly the high point of this series. But Norman still keeps up the pace as she puts familiar characters through their paces.