21 February 2020

5 Ways to Catch a Serial Killer: New Crime Fiction

If you read a lot of crime fiction, you'd think a serial killer lived on every block of every town or city in the world. I do read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, but I'm pretty sure I don't live next door to the new Ted Bundy.

The common thread of the books I feature today is that they all involve multiple murders and in all but one case the killer is yet to be identified or caught. The protagonists range from ordinary citizens to FBI agents, each one determined to find the villain before he (or she?) strikes again.

review of The Third to Die by Allison BrennanThe Third to Die by Allison Brennan (Mira, Feb. 4), stars an LAPD detective and an FBI special agent who are tasked with tracking down the "Triple Killer" before he strikes again. Every three years, starting on March 3, the killer murders three people, three days apart, and then disappears for three years before starting the cycle over. After Detective Kara Quinn finds the body of a nurse, Special Agent Mattias Costa and his forensic psychologist are sent to help investigate. The trio has three days to stop the next murder and only six days until the killer goes into hiding for three more years. Reviews have been mixed, but I'm all in, especially because this may be the start of a new series.

Review of Never Forget by Martin MichaudNever Forget by Martin Michaud (Dundurn, Feb. 11) is set in Montreal and stars police detective Victor Lessard and his partner, Jacinthe Taillon. The mystery starts out with several seemingly unrelated events: a murder, a suicide, and a missing person. Lessard and Taillon, however, soon discover the possible links among the current cases as well as some evidence that the crimes may be related to a political assassination that occurred decades earlier. The pressure is on to solve the cases before anyone else is killed. Political intrigue, conspiracy theories, and lure of revenge all play a part in this twisty mystery. This is the third in a series, but the first one to be published in English.

review of The Only Child by Mi-ae SeoThe Only Child by Mi-ae Seo (Ecco, Feb. 11) features an FBI-trained criminal psychologist who is in Seoul to interview a serial killer who insists he'll tell his story to no one else. While Seonkyeong is doing her work, her husband is moving his estranged 11-year-old daughter into their house. The girl lived with her mother and then her maternal grandparents; now that all three have died, her father has taken her in. The girl is difficult, to say the least, but more disturbing, Seonkyeong is finding a surprising number of similarities between the convicted murderer and her stepdaughter. Are Seonkyeong's suspicions legit or is she just having trouble dealing with an adolescent?

review of Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little (Viking, Feb. 25) takes place on an island off the coast of Delaware where a movie about an unsolved murder is being filmed. When Marissa Dahl takes over the film editing duties, she discovers that the movie is based on a real-life cold case that took place on that very island decades earlier; she also quickly learns that the movie set is fraught with tension and an unhappy cast and crew. After she discovers a body, Marissa suspects that the original killer may still live on the island. With the help of some local teens and her own curiosity, she sets out to expose the villain before he can strike again. The novel includes details about how movies are made as well as a little bit of romance.

review of Ten Days Gone by Beverly LongTen Days Gone by Beverly Long (Mira, Feb. 18) stars Wisconsin police detectives A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan who are tasked with investigating the murders of four women, who were killed  days apart in the small town of Baywood. The killer has been striking every 10 days for more than a month, leaving very few clues behind. In this first installment in a new series, we learn as much about A.L.'s and Rena's personal lives as we do about the crimes, as the detectives race to end the killing spree, overcome obstacles, and do their best to protect the woman they think could be next victim. Good character development with a nod to larger issues (such as marriage and parenthood) round out this thriller.

Which serial killer novel is calling to you? I'm equally interested in The Only Child and Pretty as a Picture.


bermudaonion 2/21/20, 11:01 AM  

I heard a mystery author speak one time. He said most people will never encounter a dead body and he has to make it seem plausible that his character finds them over and over again.

All of these books sound good to me.

Beverley Baird 2/21/20, 3:01 PM  

These look intriguing. I'm not a great reader of mystery thrillers but do enjoy Luise Penny

Claudia 2/21/20, 5:26 PM  

I'm going to check those out. Just finished a different sort or serial killer novel by Susan Isaacs, Takes One to Know One, quite good.

Greg 2/21/20, 8:18 PM  

I think Pretty As a Picture and Ten Days Gone both sound pretty good.

Kathryn T 2/22/20, 2:09 AM  

I don't read a lot of mystery.thriller books and series of murders. But I have read the J.D. Robb series and another series that does have murder and usually more than one. But I just sprinkle them in among other reading!

Daryl 2/23/20, 3:14 PM  

love mysteries almost as much as dystopian or post apocalyptic stories and looking around this country lately i feel as if i am in the prequel of both (tho i wouldnt mind a murder ... yes i have a victim in mind)

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