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THE KILLING HOUR by Lisa Gardner


by Lisa Gardner

Pub Date: July 15th, 2003
ISBN: 0-553-80252-6
Publisher: Bantam

A cunning serial killer plays devilish mind games with his would-be captors—and what else is new?

Not much. Well, he does have this penchant for pluralizing. That is, he grabs his young women in pairs. Why pairs? He uses corpse one for the planting of clues sufficient to allow law enforcement—if law enforcement is astute enough—to find corpse two alive. “Eco-Killer,” he’s been tabbed because in addition to his passion for gamesmanship, he seems to have an ongoing love-hate relationship with the environment. From Georgia, scene of the first killings, we shift to Virginia, where Special Agent Mac McCormack of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been on the case from the outset. He’s been directed to Virginia by a barrage of enigmatic phone calls from someone who claims to know how the serial killer’s sly and twisted mind works. In Quantico, a training ground for FBI agents as well as for US Marines, Mac meets fledgling feebie Kimberly Quincy, daughter of former agent Pierce Quincy, famous throughout the service for his legendary exploits as a profiler. When the Eco-Killer strikes again, Quincy and his p.i. partner Lorraine Conner, mainstays of the series, (The Next Accident, 2001, etc.), are called in to consult, but the case really belongs to the captivating Kimberly and hunkish Mac (with their bods for sex and brains for high-powered detecting). Convinced there’s a chance to save a life if they can manage to solve the killer’s puzzle in time, the two desperately seek clues from botanists, biologists, entomologists, and a variety of other analysts. Something from here, something from there, and at last they can make the guess that plunges them deep into Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, where the game plays out to a fiery end.

Too much psychobabble, technobabble, and envirobabble, yet the appeal of the young sleuths (smart, funny, tough) almost saves the day.