A slow-burning but absorbing serial-killer tale with notable characters.


A Colorado-based therapist becomes embroiled in a murder investigation after one of his patients kills his mentor in Vors’ debut psychological thriller.

Alan Greene survives a savage encounter with his patient Alyson Woods, but his mentor and friend, Hal Kreige, dies from multiple stab wounds. The two therapists had been treating Alyson with a new form of hypnotherapy called “the Housing Method.” Using this approach, she would place repressed memories into imaginary containers in order to access painful recollections gradually, and at a distance. Local cops are immediately on the hunt for fugitive Alyson, and soon, FBI operatives arrive in Cherokee County. Agent Peter Poole and Roni Price, a forensic psychology professor, are looking into cases of missing people who were last seen in, near, or headed toward Cherokee; one of them recently turned up dead with wounds that were similar to Kreige’s. As authorities search for the elusive Alyson, Roni learns about the Housing Method. It turns out that Alyson imagined dogs as part of her therapy, each with his or her own name and voice. It’s apparent that the dogs slowly began to manifest in her psyche, like multiple personalities—and any one of them may be a killer. Vors’ smart, razor-edged prose will quickly draw readers into the narrative. The dogs in Alyson’s mind, for example, are strikingly described—they’re all distinctive breeds, as Alyson imagines them—and the fact that the canines speak adds a surreal quality. The other characters all have well-developed personalities; they include the investigators working Kreige’s homicide, such as Sgt. Terry Hayes, who dislikes the FBI. Vors complicates the predictable attraction between Alan and Roni by offering parallels between the two characters; they’re both university professors with sex-related troubles (he’s slept with students, and she’s a recovering sex addict). Some readers will see one notable plot twist coming, but there are a handful of surprises in the tense final act. 

A slow-burning but absorbing serial-killer tale with notable characters.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-05471-0

Page Count: 398

Publisher: Luc Vors Publications, LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2019

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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