The Killing Lessons.
Booklist Reviews 2015 August #1
*Starred Review* San Francisco detective Valerie Hart is the lead on a serial-killer case that has her obsessing like Ahab on the trail of Moby-Dick. The killer's ever-changing MO defies profiling and detection, with the only connection among the crimes being his baffling penchant for placing seemingly unrelated objects in his victims' bodies. But one evening as she's obsessively reviewing video of the latest victim's final hours, Valerie spots someone who prompts her interest. Meanwhile, the killer is still hunting and has left a young girl fighting for her life in an isolated Colorado cabin. Valerie, the killer, and young Nell each get their pieces of the narrative, which highlights the race toward a climax that has every indication of ending badly. Yes, all of the serial-killer staples are accounted for: self-destructing detective, slippery killer, and sympathetic future victims. But Black, a pseudonym for acclaimed dark-fantasy author Glen Duncan (The Last Werewolf, 2011), twists the formula with a killer who defies the coldly calculating criminal mastermind archetype, an unblinking willingness to off characters he's convinced readers to like, and a hokum-free thread of reawakening lost souls. A serial-murder tale in league with the best of Lauren Beukes and Chelsea Cain: that means must-read for those who like their psychological thrillers raw. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2015 July #1
For Nell Cooper life would never be the same again. The moment she found her mother on the kitchen floor and heard her whisper the words, "Run, they're still here," the safe world as she knew it ceased to exist. For the two killers, Nell's house was just a random stop on the road to completing a bloody list of macabre tasks. Det. Valerie Hart is obsessed with putting an end to this rampage and will stop at nothing to do it. Unfortunately, she will also have to work with her ex-fiancé, who recently rejoined the force, and figure out who's trying to sabotage her within the department. As the murder investigation heats up and the search for the killers becomes even more frantic, Valerie must also watch her own back. VERDICT Black (aka Glen Duncan, I Lucifer) has written a taut, smart thriller guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Not to be missed.—Cynthia Price, Francis Marion Univ. Lib., Florence, SC[Page 76]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2015 July #1
At the start of this exceptional police thriller from Black, the pseudonym of British author Glen Duncan (Hope), two armed men show up at an isolated farmhouse outside Ellinson, Colo., with fatal results for the Cooper family. Soon afterward, a San Francisco woman is found dead, raped and mutilated with a piece of a crystal unicorn inserted in her body. SFPD homicide detective Valerie Hart links this crime and another Bay Area slaying to a string of murders of women in several states across the western U.S., in each of which the killers—DNA evidence suggests there are two of them—embedded a strange object in the corpse. Meanwhile, Valerie is drinking too much and has a rotten love life while Carla York, the FBI special agent brought in as liaison, dislikes Valerie for unknown reasons and works to discredit her. The appearance of an old boyfriend, fellow cop Nick Blaskovich, whom Valerie dumped three years earlier, complicates matters further. Despite these distractions, persistent Valerie displays a real gift for uncovering and interpreting clues. Readers will hope she returns soon in another nail-biter. Agent: Jane Gelfman, Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents. (Sept.)[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC