Four women have been found dead in the outskirts of a small Wisconsin town. The only witness, clairvoyant Celeste Risinski, observes these brutal murders through violent nightmares and hellish visions. The local sheriff, who believes in Celeste’s abilities and wants to rid their peaceful community of a killer, enlists the help on an old friend, Ian Scott, owner of a private criminal investigation agency, CORE. Because of Ian’s dark history with Celeste’s family, a history she knows nothing about, he sends his top criminalist, former FBI agent John Kain to investigate.
John doesn’t believe in Celeste’s mystic hocus-pocus, or in her visions of the murders. But just when he’s certain they’ve solved the crimes, with the use of science and evidence, more dead bodies are discovered. Could this somehow be the work of the same killer or were they dealing with a copycat? To catch a vicious murderer, the skeptical criminalist reluctantly turns to the sensual psychic for help. Yet with each step closer to finding the killer, John finds himself one step closer to losing his heart.
I have only ever read a few suspense and thriller style novels, and this is definitely in my top 10! Kristine Mason not only created some amazingly strong characters in Celeste, John, and Roy (everyone needs a Roy in their lives!), but she was able to put us in the mind of a sadistic serial killer. When I first started reading the book I was a little scared to continue. The prologue is in the third person, but in the mind of a man who is very sick and twisted. Thankfully nothing too heinous was described, or I may have not continued on to find out what happened. That was not an issue, though, and I loved being able to get into his head (only a little lol). It was an interesting read to say the least.
One of my favorite aspects of this book was that it was not short. It took me two days to read the book, and barely put it down. While I love being able to sit and read a book in 6 hours, I felt more involved in the story. Something else that had me hooked - I could NOT predict what was going to happen! Even with the main character, Celeste, being a psychic and having dreams about the murders, I was floored when we found out who the killer was! Throughout the entire book I was 100% SURE that I knew who he/they was/were right up until the actual reveal. My jaw dropped to the floor.
My absolute favorite thing about this story was the romance. Not the sex, but the actual romance. First, it wasn't overdone. I get tired of reading books sometimes where the first scene is sex, and the plot revolves around the couple's sexcapades. This book has got some well written steamy scenes, but it is not the center of the story. I do love me some smut, but I also do not like overkill when there is a better plot already happening. It was absolutely refreshing.
The plot was amazingly well thought out, and with very few editing issues it was easy to read and hard to put down or forget. I will definitely be reading the next books in this series and looking for more books from this author. I am officially a fan. I wish that television shows and movies were given plots like this book. Seriously, I am still in shock that I was completely wrong with my assumptions of what was going to happen. Standing ovation from this girl.
John Kain knelt, resting his forearm on his thigh as he studied one of the four victims. Bruises marred her flesh, her inner thighs, her face and chest, while her mouth gaped open as if she’d died screaming. The thin line of purple running around her neck was telling. She’d been strangled. Beaten, raped, then strangled. Just like the other three.
Roy, the sheriff who’d reminded him of Paul Bunyan, minus the ax and blue ox, came up beside him. “What are you thinking?”
John stood, then scanned the area, the dense woods, the highway where the deputies had set up a road block. The smooth asphalt was littered with police cruisers, several CSU vans, and maybe a half-dozen deputies. “I can’t be sure, but I spoke with...Mitchell?”
“Yeah.” The sheriff nodded. “He’s the lead with Eau Claire’s CSU team.”
“Mitchell tentatively confirmed your suspicions, but will know more during the autopsies.”
“My exact thought. You’re in a heap of it.” And he’d just plowed through his own pile in Chicago, the stench still lingering, still fresh.
When he’d joined CORE, he’d known he would see just as much as he had when he’d been with the FBI, but Ian had promised downtime in between cases, something he’d never had with the Bureau. Something he needed now. What he’d witnessed while working with the Chicago PD and FBI Field Office would haunt him for a lifetime. And as pissed as he was about having a mini vacation dangled in front of him, then quickly pulled away with one simple phone call, he still had a job to do.
*****Now, normally we are only supposed to post one excerpt, but I felt that I needed to post two. One (above) is in John Kain's POV. This one (below) is in our resident psycho's POV. It is one of the reasons I loved this book so much, and I wanted to make sure that you all got to see exactly what I meant in my review. Here you go!*****
He clenched his jaw as he stared at the woods, the CSU vans, the cruisers, and controlled the rage, the betrayal coursing through him. Garrett had gone behind his back. He’d killed without him.
Worse yet, he’d dumped bodies out in the open where anyone could find them?
When his vision blurred with hatred, causing a kaleidoscope of oranges, reds and yellow as he stared at the trees, he quickly reined in his temper. He needed to keep his cool, not allow his judgment, his instincts to be warped with vengeance against his brother. He’d deal with Garrett later.
Despite the anger surging through him, he fought a smile. If only that cocky son of a bitch knew he’d had a little fun of his own.
About Kristine Mason
I didn’t pick up my first romance novel until I was in my late twenties. Immediately hooked, I read a bazillion books before deciding to write one of my own. After the birth of my first son I needed something to keep my mind from turning to mush, and Sesame Street wasn’t cutting it. While that first book will never see the light of day, something good had come from writing it. I realized my passion, and had found a career that I love.
When I’m not writing contemporary romances and dark, romantic suspense novels (or reading them!) I’m chasing after my four kids and two neurotic dogs.
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