An FBI profiler’s past may link to a murderer’s in Regan’s (The Bones She Buried, 2019, etc.) thriller.
Agent Kassidy Bishop of the FBI’s Behavior Analysis Unit is on the hunt for a serial killer. At each crime scene, he leaves a message that reads “for you.” His M.O. is unusual in other ways, as well: The bodies show indications of torture that occurred after the victims were already dead. Kassidy suspects that they’re revenge killings of some kind, given the murderer’s recurring message. The novel alternates perspectives between first- and third-person, giving readers an early introduction to the killer, Wyatt Anderton, who’s obsessed with Kassidy and secretly spies on her. It’s revealed early on that, five years before, serial rapist Nico Sala tortured Kassidy, and that the resulting brain damage adversely affected her long-term memory. Wyatt, meanwhile, sometimes has blackouts and can’t remember all of his murders. As his control slips further away, he becomes an even greater threat—and Kassidy could be his next victim. As the killer’s identity and motive become clear, Regan concentrates her story less on the mystery than she does on the characters. The absorbing protagonist, who also lost her twin sister in an apparent suicide, is understandably reluctant to get close to anyone. Her skills are without question, however; as she and her partner, Agent TK Bennett, profile the killer, readers know that their insights are generally spot-on. Revelations about Wyatt’s past effectively humanize him, as both he and his younger sister endured abuse. But when he loses stretches of time, it can be terrifying; at one point, for instance, he suddenly finds himself in front of a victim with no memory of how he got there. Regan’s steadily paced narrative rarely slows down, and it delivers effective twists. Readers will likely be able to predict one of the more significant plot turns, but the author saves one for the end that they may not see coming.
A taut, often unnerving procedural with a memorable heroine and villain.