In her debut novel Anne Frasier takes the readers to Chicago, where a serial killer has re-emerged placing all those with new born sons in a state of panic:
Ivy Dunlop has lived through many individuals' greatest fear but it was not without consequences. She now spends her time researching, testing theories trying to understand and unravel the minds of the most dangerous men but it is not these new skills that are going to be the most helpful on her next case. The Madonna Murderer has returned to the Chicago after 16 year absence, no one know why he stopped killing, but he is back fulfilling his own cause. Ivy knows that she has to help catch this murderer who has caused her nightmares, even if lead detective Max Irving does not think she belongs. Together they set out to understand a twisted mind, but they can never work fast enough and body count keeps going higher and higher.
Not going to lie the first thing that drew me to the book was this cover, amazing job and when I read the premise is sounded interesting and maybe had something a little bit different to it. It is not often when you read about a serial killer that murders both women and their new born sons, however, it is quite often where you have a serial killer that has mother issues and this one is no different from those. Frasier does not add anything knew to the serial killer persona or ideas behind why he decided to murder, so she was not too original, but I do think she created a well crafted killer. I did appreciate that Frasier did have chapters from his point of view which gave insight as to why and who he decided to kill and actually how smart he was. I personally prefer books that have the serial killer point of view, I find that it rounds out the story.
I found book fairly predictable, not in the sense of who the killer actually is but in how the plot and subplots were going to unfold. This hindered the overall suspense that was supposed to be throughout this book, but I never felt like I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen next and for me this is key in a thriller novel. There was also times where the detective needed a new skill and wow there you go he has it, for example hypnotization.
Ivy was an interesting character but I never felt that Frasier used her abilities and trauma of the past to the fullest extend. Almost seemed like Frasier was timid to do so and I think this also hindered the suspense that should have been in this book. You really feel for Ivy as she is trying to combat the fear that she has pushed away for years, but you can tell that she is just living as a shell of herself until she start helping the investigation. She is fool hardy at times, but her intention are always good, though this does cause more trouble than I think that she expected.
There were almost too many point of views for this story. Don't get me wrong I like multiple points of view as you can see the plot unfolding from so many different angles, I just don't think that this book was best served having them. I think that Frasier could have dropped Ethan's point of view, as it does not add anything to the story other than trying to humanize Det. Irving. I think the plot could have still played out the same and would have given Frasier more time to develop Ivy and Irving as characters.
This book was okay, I liked the overall concept that Frasier was trying to portray and I like Ivy as a character. I just think that the book was a bit too predictable and lacked the suspensefulness that I was hoping it would have. Okay for a debut novel, but I have read better debuts in the thriller genre. I will say that Frasier had some good ideas here and with time she may be able to get it right.