In the latest from Roberts (Tutu Deadly, 2007, etc.), a killer prowls Santa Barbara and environs targeting the most aggressive yet vulnerable organs of abusive men.
Some people call the local chapter of Women Against Violence, founded by struggling painter Kelsey Waite and nurse Alisha Telford, the “Man Hater’s Club of Santa Barbara.” But given their histories of abuse, you can hardly blame the WAV members for their wariness. Now it looks as if somebody’s taken their rage a big step further. Jake Higgins, who raped Alisha when she was a teenager in little Chapel Grace, is lured down to Santa Barbara, gelded and killed. So is Calvin Reynolds, a hospital maintenance worker who wouldn’t take Alisha’s no for an answer. But the killer seems to get less and less selective. Alisha’s boyfriend, Det. Joe Malone, dies of a suspicious heart attack. Tessa Morrow, a WAV charter member who was addicted to the wrong kind of attention, is murdered and mutilated. Is the killer, whom the evidence improbably identifies as a woman, going to exact vengeance on everyone who’s ever abused any of the local WAV members? Or is she (or he) simply determined to eliminate anyone who shows signs of getting interesting?
Kelsey has nothing to do but cower and wait her turn at the slaughterhouse. It’s left to her boyfriend, Det. Quinn Anderson, and his new partner, Det. Rita Jaramillo, to sort through the angry, untidy roll call of homicides.