OLD ENEMIES... Francis Ackerman Jr. is one of America's most prolific serial killers. Having kept a low profile for the past year, he is ready to return to work and he's more brutal, cunning, and dangerous than ever.
NEW THREATS... Scarred from their past battles, Special Agent Marcus Williams cannot shake Ackerman from his mind. But now Marcus must focus on catching the Anarchist, a new killer who drugs and kidnaps women before burning them alive.
HIDDEN TERRORS... Marcus knows the Anarchist will strike again soon. And Ackerman is still free. But worse than this is a mysterious figure, unknown to the authorities, who controls the actions of the Anarchist and many like him. He is the Prophet and his plans are more terrible than even his own disciples can imagine. With attacks coming from every side, Marcus faces a race against time to save the lives of a group of innocent people chosen as sacrifices in the Prophet's final dark ritual.
The fast pace of this story will have you hanging on to your seats as Ethan Cross takes you on a wild ride.
Marcus Williams is a member of the Shepherd organization, a secret government agency designed to hunt and take down the most vicious of criminals by any means necessary. His nemesis is Francis Ackerman Jr., who stays in touch with an unwilling Marcus via phone calls, and is seemingly always one step ahead of him.
The book begins by introducing us to Francis Ackerman Jr., a prolific serial killer, who is torturing three people to get answers about the whereabouts of a criminal. Using this type of scene for the beginning of the book, the author had my attention instantly.
The plot then moves on swiftly to each of the main characters, giving a glimpse into their work. The book is densely and very finely plotted, with plenty of twists and turns that the reader doesn't see coming. The author gives every character a distinct voice, and uses realistic details throughout, which allows the reader to follow the plot without any trouble despite the often changing viewpoints.
When we first enter Marcus' viewpoint, he is trying to stop the Anarchist, a serial killer who kidnaps and drugs his victims and then burns them alive. What Marcus doesn't know is that the Anarchist is led by The Prophet, a satanic cult leader, whose real identity stays hidden until almost the very end. I appreciated the thorough research this author seems to have done when addressing the cult behavior and the rituals, which was delivered in gruesome but realistic detail.
In fact, the whole book had a very realistic feel to it, including the psychological angle where the author explores a serial killer's mind and the reasons why an abused child might turn into a vicious murderer.
While this book is the second in a series, it can be read as a standalone, as the author does a fine job of weaving previous information into the plot and dialogue, without making it feel like an infodump or interrupting the flow of the story. The climax of the book, with all the revelations that I didn't see coming though they made perfect sense, kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't put the book down from about 60% in until the very end.
The writing is crisp and precise, and the author's ability to make each character believable impressed me immensely.
This was my first book from The Story Plant but if this is the caliber of writing they offer, it won't be my last.
If you like psychological, realistic and gritty thrillers, this is the book for you.
I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return.
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