A killer is on the loose, blurring the line between fact and fiction. His prey: the writers of crime novels who have turned psychological profilers into the heroes of our times. His bloodlust shatters all the conventional wisdom surrounding the motives and mechanics of serial killers. And for one woman, the desperate hunt to uncover his identity becomes a matter of life and death.Professor Fiona Cameron is a psychologist who uses computer technology to track serial offenders. She used to help the police, but vowed never to work with them again when they went against her advice and subsequently botched an investigation.Still smarting from the experience, she's working a case in Spain when her lover, thriller writer Kit Martin, tells her a fellow crime novelist has been murdered. It's not her case, but Fiona can't help taking an interest. When the killer strikes again Fiona finds herself caught in a race against time -- not only to save a life but also to find redemption, both personal andprofessional.
Though McDermid skillfully alternates point of view and creates memorable scenes and complex characters, her latest falls short of the high standard set by her previous novel, A Place of Execution (2000), which was an Edgar finalist. Psychology professor Fiona Campbell, a consultant with London's Metropolitan Police, specializes in crime linkage and geographical profiling using sophisticated computer technology. The competitive, self-confident Fiona was recently replaced on a case by another expert, who ended up misleading the police; their suspect, whom Fiona had thought innocent, was eventually released. While Fiona is working with the Spanish police to catch a vicious murderer, a new situation comes to light back in the U.K.: the serial killings of successful thriller writers who are threatened, then murdered following details from their most popular novel. Fiona lives with Kit Martin, author of you guessed it popular thrillers about serial killers. Their best friend, Det. Superintendent Steve Preston, needs Fiona's help in yet another investigation. Initially, she refuses to resume working with the police, but the personal dimensions draw her in. After much misdirection, the cases mesh, with a Spanish connection. McDermid builds suspense by inserting passages from the thriller novels, e-mails, crime Web sites and the killer's journal. Unfortunately, the killer's motive is somewhat unconvincing, while the reader can anticipate most of the plot twists. Nonetheless, given the acclaim for A Place of Execution, expect strong sales. (Oct. 12) FYI: McDermid won Britain's Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel in 1995. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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March 31, 2010
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