SEARCH ANGEL by Mark Nykanen


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Another fiendishly detestable sexual-psycho-artistic serial killer from Nykanen.

In 2004’s The Bone Parade , we watched the country’s leading sculptor, Ashley Stassler (best known for his bronzes of family groups caught up in stark horror), abduct real families, cast their bodies with dental alginate, then make public bronzes of the families while reducing their bodies to bones (which he groups for personal viewing). This time out, a twisted, thuggish psychologist, The Searcher, himself an adoptee, chases birth mothers who gave up their children for adoption and kills and photographs them in fancifully artistic ways—the first we hear about has been burned to death with arrowheads stamped all over her body from a hot steam iron. Mmm! Suzanne Trayle, herself an adopted child who at 14 gave birth to a then-adopted child, is a search angel who tracks down birth moms and adopted kids and is famous nationwide as The Orphan’s Private Eye. From her office in Portland, Ore., she’s tracked down over a thousand mothers and kids. Phenomenal!—until we learn that she does it largely through legal records on the Internet, more and more of which are revealed by state laws. Suzanne has her complete search files on her laptop and on a CD. The Searcher tracks her down in Chicago, secretly copies the CD, then rapes her (for an hour!) without letting her see his face. Now that he has her list, he starts murdering moms, those shamed and guilty beings. Worse, he sends Suzanne a letter with a photo of her lost son, his wife and granddaughter, saying he’ll murder them if she goes to the feds about his plans. Instead, she hatches a plot with her separated husband (the father of her adopted child) to trap—well—their own son?

Nykanen thinks he’s written a devilishly entertaining serious novel about birth mothers and adopted children with this sickening blood-splash. Richard Laymon, your inheritor has arisen.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-4013-0019-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2005


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