Reason for Reading: I'm a fan of the author and had read the previous book in the series.
This book had me from the beginning as it dealt with some of my favourite topics, mental health and psychiatric wards. Plus it was back to my favourite kind of thriller, that of the serial killer though this time with a twist: a mass murderer serial killer.
D.D. Warren is a great female character who can carry a book on her own. This time her partner Phil has a shadow, Alex, a former agent who has been a Professor at the Academy for years. D.D. compares Alex to George Clooney and he soon becomes her shadow and main partner throughout the crime solving. We start off by meeting a handful of severely disturbed children, mostly through abuse, who are living on an acute psychiatric ward. We also meet an 8yo boy who is also suffering from a multitude of psychiatric disorders and diagnoses and ultimately he is at risk of harming others but his mother has decided to take full responsibility for his care. This ultimately lead to her husband leaving her and taking their daughter with him for safety's sake.
Warren's case opens when a family is found murdered in their home. It looks like the father killed the kids, mother and then shot himself but then they realize it may be a murder case. Then another family is killed in their home. This time the father has obviously been posed to look as if he killed himself after murdering the family. Who killed these families? They seem to have absolutely no connections whatsoever so how could they possibly be related? Are they? For nurse Danielle this becomes all so real as it brings back the 25yo memory of the night her father shot and killed her mother and two siblings but left her as the lone survivor, on purpose.
As I said, I love D.D. as a character but I do think it a shame that the author has to write her as someone so obsessed with s*x. As a single women, D.D.'s constant inside chatter and vocal lamentations of when she will ever get *it* again are rather disturbing and unnecessary to this reader. But thankfully readers are not privy to anything more real.
Another fabulous read from Gardner. A page-turner and exciting. I had my eye on the wrong person for most of the book, which is always fun for me when I don't figure it out right away. The reveal wasn't terribly surprising in the end but the driving force and motive of the killer was a real shocker and well done. An incredibly engrossing story that not only thrilled but was fascinating with details on how children abused beyond the point of psychological return can be treated, cared for and most of all shown love.