Carter Blake, the “locating consultant” who made such a splash in his debut (The Killing Season, 2015), returns to help locate a bad boy who’s been awfully busy for an awfully long time.
The first corpse reported to Detective Jessica Allen, LAPD, isn’t that of Sarah Dutton, who disappeared from her wealthy father’s home with the Porsche he’d given her, but that of her friend Kelly Boden, who drove the Porsche back—well, partway back—from a wild party. The bodies of two other young women are discovered so soon thereafter that there’s never any doubt that a serial killer is at work, abducting women, torturing them, and ritualistically killing them. The Samaritan, as he’s swiftly dubbed by a TV reporter who’s apparently getting information from an unauthorized source, seems to prey on women stuck on lonely roads who need a helping hand. How long has he been at it? Allen’s research identifies at least two likely earlier victims. But these discoveries, disquieting as they are, are overshadowed by her much more disturbing memory of an unsolved murder she worked in Washington, D.C., before coming to LA six months ago, suggesting that the Samaritan has worked both coasts with a break of more than two years between killing sprees. Enter Blake with even more chilling news: the M.O. of all these murders links them both to the killing of Army Sgt. Willis Peterson in North Carolina and the 1997 slaughter of the Crozier family, almost certainly by Dean Crozier, the son whom there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest—a son reported killed in Afghanistan in 2004. Just how long has the Samaritan been at it, how many victims has he claimed, and when will the killing end?
Fans of Jeffery Deaver—that other thrill-master who can’t resist piling on the climactic twists even as the lights are coming up and you’re looking for your umbrella—should be enthralled.