From Publishers Weekly
McFadyen's debut novel has an intriguing premise—FBI Special Agent Smoky Barrett and her team are targeted by a serial killer who believes he's a descendant of Jack the Ripper—but it poses a few problems for reader McCormick. Barrett begins by describing the "cigar-sized" scars on her face and body, which resulted from an attack by a madman a year before that also took the lives of her husband and child. This unpleasantly precise beginning is a harbinger of the ever-increasing, lavishly described incidents of physical and mental violence that propel the novel, which is much less wince-inducing on the page than it is in your ear. McCormick, an intelligent actress who effectively portrays a sympathetic therapist on TV's Law and Order
, elects to deliver this off-putting material in a brusque, almost sardonic manner. If the intent was to undercut the disturbing effect of the prose, it doesn't work. Smoky's best friend and fellow agent, Callie, has a penchant for calling everyone "honey-love," an affectation that even the director of the FBI finds annoying. Thanks to McCormick's exaggerated delivery of the incessantly used phrase, listeners will know exactly how he feels.
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A serial killer murdered FBI agent Smokey Barrett's husband and daughter. Smokey killed the fiend but was left deeply scarred. Now, after spending time contemplating suicide, Smokey finds herself drawn back into the game . . . by a new killer who has addressed his latest crime to her personally. First-time novelist McFadyen writes like an old pro, acknowledging the conventions of the serial-killer thriller without being slavishly devoted to them. Smokey, the not-quite-five-foot-tall, sharp-shooting FBI agent, is no standard-issue heroine, and her nemesis, the killer who calls himself Jack Jr., is both chilling and strangely compassionate. A series to watch. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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