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This disturbing serial killer drama set in California marks a promising debut for McFadyen, who combines many conventions of the genre but with far more exquisite, intricate results than the norm. FBI agent Smoky Barrett, a haunted, complicated woman, leads a team of investigators assigned to a serial killer task force. Barrett, who escaped the clutches of a different serial killer a year earlier but lost her husband and daughter in the attack, is now tracking a madman known as "Jack Jr.," who believes he's a descendant of Jack the Ripper. He mauls women, mostly prostitutes with Web sites, then sends the videotapes of the killings to Barrett and her crew. The plot follows a typical arc, complete with some nauseating details and predictable twists. There's also a romance between Barrett and a bodyguard that seems tacked on for future installments. Yet McFadyen's writing is crisp and smart, and his scenes pack a visceral punch without being cheap or exploitative. Barrett, for her part, is a memorable protagonist, a deeply troubled woman trying to move on from tragedy, yet possessing special insight into the criminal mind. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.