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From the Detective Matt Jones series, volume 2

by Robert Ellis

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5039-5274-4
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

A Los Angeles detective heads to the East Coast to help the FBI track down a serial killer in this sequel.

Weeks after Detective Matt Jones survives an assassination attempt, his supervisor calls him back to work. It seems Dr. George Baylor, a serial killer from one of Matt’s cases, has murdered a family just outside Philadelphia. Though the crime doesn’t match Baylor’s M.O., cops discovered his fingerprints at the scene. Matt joins an FBI task force and works closely with agent Kate Brown. At the same time, he’s contemplating revenge against the culprit who hired the hit man. Unfortunately, Matt’s investigation is complicated by his certainty that several people are withholding information, and he furthermore spots someone regularly following him. But the murder of a second family and an encounter with an armed Baylor ultimately convince Matt that the doctor isn’t the killer—at least not in the Philadelphia area. But some of those taking part in the probe keep Baylor as the No. 1 suspect even when later evidence counters that theory. Matt picks up startling details, including the reason for his inclusion on the task force as well as specifics on his murky family history, but he’s steadfast in hunting a killer. Ellis (City of Echoes, 2015, etc.) eases new readers into the second Matt-centric novel (although he spoils some of the first installment’s twists). Having previously suffered betrayal, Matt has good reason to be paranoid, which results in a gleefully tense sequel as he quickly notices someone watching him. His relationships are complex: There’s potential romance with Kate, but the two must remain professional, and Baylor is apparently more intent on aiding Matt than harming him. Despite such intricacies, the mystery is straightforward, and Matt’s propensity for repeatedly asking himself questions keeps him (and readers) focused. The author’s writing is tight but descriptive. Though the prose is never unduly graphic, some of the murderer’s actions will likely make some readers queasy. The ending effectively sets the stage for the next installment.

A persistently gripping thriller with strong characters.