THE KILLING GAME by Iris Johansen


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The second of Johansen’s suspensers starring Eve Duncan (The Face of Deception, 1998), a forensic sculptor who shapes human faces from the skulls of murder victims. The serial killer who murdered Eve’s daughter Bonnie refused to tell her where he stashed the body. Eve has therefore devoted her life to bringing back her Bonnie and also the remains of other murdered children (the “lost ones”), so that their families can have the closure of a proper burial. In this she is helped by tough Atlanta PD detective Joe Quinn, whose marriage, thanks to his obsession with Eve, was conveniently dissolved in The Face of Deception. Continuing in his role of investigator, protector, and grief therapist, he now hopes to add lover to that list and to get moody Eve to take a few emotional risks. For some flimsy reasons that may be recognizable to other serial killers, another deranged murderer has targeted Eve because his 20-year killing spree has left him burnt out and he hopes that murdering Eve will give him a fresh new direction. This mysterious monster, called “Dom,” tells her that he was really Bonnie’s killer, and that he—ll murder a ten-year-old girl, Jane, if Eve doesn’t play his game. This gives Eve a chance to bond with Jane, a tough kid who like Eve was born in the slums of Atlanta, and to spend nearly all her time with Joe, a human guardian angel who seems never to sleep. Also watching over Eve is the ghost of Bonnie, who talks to her in dreams and is either a real angel or a figment of Eve’s subconscious. Eve, Joe, and Jane, accompanied by the FBI, a journalist, and Sarah Patrick and her near-cadaver dog Monte, a golden retriever trained to locate bodies, pursue the increasingly bloodthirsty killer to Arizona, where they bring him down on the site of his tortured childhood. Johansen creates some nonconformist women characters along with heroes as devoted to them as golden retrievers.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-553-10624-4
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2000


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