Beautiful, superfocused, yet troubled Brooke Walton, now in medical school, is involved in yet another disappearance of a fellow female student in this second installment of a dark thriller series.
Brooke is embarking on her first year at Rothaker Medical School, a critical next step in achieving her goal of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. Observing her classmates, Brooke muses that she knows she’s “uniquely different, but not because of anything others could see. How many of her fellow students had already killed three people?” She eagerly works on her first cadaver and is the only one to observe that fellow student Xander, a slightly older, handsome former football star and returning veteran, has a PTSD reaction upon seeing the corpse. She immediately dislikes classmate Rachel Kline, fixating on the woman’s mole and annoyed by her do-gooder persona. When Rachel tells Brooke that she better come clean about completing the work of a student on emergency leave—Brooke did it so the group-project grade wouldn’t suffer—Brooke swings into action to eliminate her latest “obstacle.” By the time the investigation for now-missing Rachel heats up, Brooke has become increasingly involved with Xander, who continues to suffer from PTSD flashbacks; he’s also starting to suspect that something is off with his new girlfriend. Ruff (Everett, 2014) continues the adventures of emotionless, Terminator-like Brooke in this second tale of the series. Since readers get early insight into Brooke’s deadly nature, including a recap of deeds from the first book, this narrative acts not as a typical whodunit but as a fascinating peek into the mind and machinations of a sociopath. Given her acute observations and rigorous discipline, also expressed in her fitness regime, Brooke is almost appealing at times, though her gruesome dismemberment and disposal of Rachel also quells such sympathies. While readers will hardly root for Brooke, they may look forward to what Ruff will reveal next about this enigmatic character and may make guesses as to how long this determined student and runner can outpace and outwit besotted male admirers and others.
Absorbing, at times gory thriller featuring an oddly compelling killer “heroine.”