Series: Forensic Instincts #3
Format Read: Hardcover
Source: Meryl L. Moss Media in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: September 24, 2013
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Blurb from goodreads:
It begins with a chilling phone call to Casey Woods. And ends with another girl dead.
College-age girls with long red hair. Brutally murdered, they're posed like victims in a film noir. Each crime scene is eerily similar to the twisted fantasy of a serial offender now serving thirty years to life-a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts.
Call. Kill. Repeat. But the similarities are more than one psychopath's desire to outdo another. As more red-headed victims are added to the body count, it becomes clear that each one has been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey-a connection that grows closer and closer to her.
Now the Forensic Instincts team must race to uncover the identity of a serial killer before his ever-tightening circle of death closes in on Casey as the ultimate target. As the stalker methodically moves in on his prey, his actions make one thing clear: he knows everything about Casey. And Casey realizes that this psychopathic won't stop until he makes sure she's dead.
This is the third book in the Forensic Instincts series and I think it's my favorite one so far. It's intense, emotional and fast-paced. It's also more personal that the previous books and that appealed to me; I felt more connected to the characters.
The case that FI is working bears a close resemblance to a cold case from Casey's past and then Casey becomes a target when the cases intertwine. As the FI team works to find the killer and keep Casey safe, the victims become more and more personal to Casey. I said the book was fast-paced and it is, but it's also set in a fairly realistic amount of time. The events are spread out over weeks but the story moves along quickly and the pace rarely slows. When it does slow down is when we get some up close looks at Casey's relationship with FBI agent Hutch and the relationship of team members Claire and Ryan. Both relationships move forward in this story, though not without bumps.
Casey is frustrated; by the killer's tactics, her inability to stop him, the murders, and the restrictions on her movements that her team implements when she becomes a target. Kane shows us her frustration and her anger and we also get a close up of Claire, the psychic. Her skill gets a full workout on this case and it wrings her out but she's stronger than she first seems. Casey and Claire are interesting, smart, strong women and they really shine in this story.
The Forensic Instincts team is willing to cut legal corners and even break the law when they believe it to be justified. This often creates problems for them with the police but this time around the police are willing to work with them anyway and take advantage of their skills. The team's willingness to play in the gray causes some tension between Casey and Hutch but Hutch is more willing to look the other way than he was in the earlier books.
Some of the technology in the book is a little too convenient but it's believable and I like that Kane also shows the slow, patient gathering of information necessary to an investigation. Though the tech is amazing, and some things are convenient, the overall process feels realistic. The story is a good mix of action and characterization, with some romance and a dash of humor. Parts of the story are predictable but there were some genuine twists and it was an engrossing read. You could read this as a stand-alone but I think it would work better if you read the first two books before starting this one.