A well-written thriller of murder, mayhem and love.
Carlo Jardina, an Arizona police detective, meets the beautiful Jezebel in a Vegas casino. After Carlo helps Jezzie double down to a higher payout, she jokes that, as a cop, Carlo would be the perfect guy to kill her constantly cheating, incredibly rich husband, Roger. Settling for an incredible night of lovemaking, Carlo finds himself falling hard for the petite vixen, and, surprisingly, he considers assisting Jezebel in her crazy conspiracy for spousal elimination. Upon his return to the small town of Prescott, Ariz., Carlo finds himself thrown headfirst into the murder of exotic dancer Mary “Tanya” Bergstrom—the first of many for the sadistic serial killer who isn’t shy about leaving DNA, fingerprints and clues at the scene. With no leads, it’s not long before the killings turn bizarre when the killer, calling himself Stephen, becomes pen pals with Carlo, sending him macabre souvenirs, providing obscure clues and urging him to solve the case. As Jezebel heats things up in the bedroom, Carlo searches for just the right method for taking care of her husband. Once the wheels are in motion, Carlo realizes that the problems of the past and present are easier solved than originally anticipated. Werner’s thriller debut is highly commendable. He puts a new spin on the old “help murder my husband” ruse. But in his effort to be mysteriously subtle, the author neglects to fully resolve a few issues of various size and importance, making it unclear whether those issues are red herrings, abstract offerings or simple oversights. Though he has a firm command of his style, there are momentary lapses in dialogue and rhythm. However, Werner’s proficiency at character development and keeping multiple storylines flowing is worthy of applause.
A gripping psychological thriller that, despite leaving a few important questions unanswered, keeps committed until its cunning conclusion.