Having survived her high-profile debut (Unsub, 2017), FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix gets a new quarry: the Saturday Night Killer, who whisks Gideon County, Texas, women away from venues everybody thought were safe and then gruesomely dispatches them.
The first victim was abducted from the Red Dog Café, the second from the Gideon Western College campus, the third from the Gideon Western Gateway 16 Cinema, the fourth from Solace’s Main Street, the fifth from her own home. Two of them were found raped, murdered, and ceremoniously clad in white nightgowns and laid out; the others remain missing, presumed dead. When Texas lawmen ask the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit for help, Caitlin Hendrix flies from Washington to Austin. An overwrought phone call from secretary Lia Fox identifies her ex-lover Aaron Gage as the killer, and he does seem to fit the profile to a T. But there’s a compelling and obvious reason he can’t be the perp every law enforcement officer in the Lone Star State is looking for, and Caitlin has to dig up another candidate. In a surprisingly short time, she comes up with a new suspect, questions him, stakes him out, arrests him, interrogates him, and gets him indicted. His only reactions are taunting and defiance, and once he escapes from custody in a memorably unlikely sequence, you can see why. Now the stakes are raised even further. Caitlin knows who she’s looking for, and she even knows who his likely targets are: anyone who helped play a role in identifying and bringing him in. Fast as her team is, the suspect is even faster, and he seems to have sprouted an equally murderous accomplice. How many more will die before Caitlin finally closes the case for good?
Though this sequel doesn’t reach the melodramatic heights or depths of Unsub, Gardiner once again does serial killing to a turn.