Couple Elijah Warren and Aurelia Blanc, both private investigators, track an apparent copycat serial killer and fight to stay ahead of a determined assassin in Cady’s (Crooked Principles, 2017, etc.) mystery-thriller.
Their Minnesota cabin is the perfect spot for Elijah and Aurelia to share a quiet life. But their old FBI boss, Clint Adams, has no choice but to inform them that the body of a murder victim has been found in South Dakota’s Badlands. A poem accompanying the body—sewn into the skin—is a similar MO to that of the late Poetic Murderer, a case Elijah and Aurelia closed. The new killer, dubbed the “Impressionist Poet,” is just getting started. A strange man named Giovanni Maltese contacts the couple, asking them to protect his daughter, Layla. Though the man is short on details, he believes Layla is in danger and that the case is connected to the Poetic Murderer. He further claims he has insight into the late serial killer, which may help stop the recent murder spree. Unfortunately, Giovanni, who had been missing for 20 years before suddenly resurfacing, is soon dead. At the same time, an assassin pursues Elijah, Aurelia, and Layla as they look into a rumored secret society comprising wealthy, possibly nefarious individuals. The group hides out somewhere in Venezuela, but that doesn’t hinder their investigation—or keep the killer off their trail. As in preceding series installments, Cady adeptly manages alternating perspectives. Returning characters Isabella and Kendrik, two friends Elijah trusts to scrutinize murder scenes, augment an already solid cast. They aren’t law enforcement, but their amateur investigation adds charm. After a strange canister prompts Isabella’s call to the bomb squad, she asks Kendrik, “That’s what you do right?” The hodgepodge of characters takes readers through a gleefully curvy plot that covers a number of decades, while the vicious assassin’s consistent presence heightens suspense. Likewise, the taut mystery drops a few genuine surprises and a satisfying coda.
Fast-paced and absorbing; a series highlight.