Cody McFayden explores the inner workings of a serial killer whose true victim is the one that he left alive.
Smokey is called away from her time off with Bonnie at the request of a girl, Sarah, whose family has just been murder. Sarah calls the man the Stranger, a man who has haunted her throughout her life, taking away anything that gave her comfort and made her happy. Sarah is to her breaking point it is either the Stranger or her, and right now the Stranger is winning. Smokey is her last chance. Sarah knows that Smokey has suffered, but is worried that she will not believe her as no one has in the past. Smokey knows she does not have that much time to save Sarah, but the Stranger is like a killer she has never come up against before, completely unique, with a focus on Sarah's life. There is only one thing common in all of Sarah's past, those who have been nice to her have disappeared or been found dead.
This book is fantastic, it has everything that you want in a thriller, with chills that will want you to keep the lights on but also read this book in one sitting.I t is completely different from the first book, in both story, plot line and writing style. We get the perspective from Smokey, but McFayden also delves into Sarah's past by having her journal dictated in the book. Sarah's journal is extremely powerful and an effective way to tell her story. All in all just a really different and interesting storyline and plot that will have you on the edge of your seat, wanting to see what will happen next.
Smokey is one of the most real characters that I have ever read in a book/series. McFayden has made her a three dimensional character, that an individual who has had her exact life would react this way. She knows that she does not have all the answers, is willing to look to others for them, she questions her decisions at work and at home, the same thing that any real person would. This is not to say that Smokey is at all a weak character, she is strong, especially when she is in her element, and would do anything to protect the innocent. I like her interaction with Bonnie throughout the book and I felt that having Bonnie in the story helped Smokey grow as a character. I do hope in future books we do get to know more about her team especially James, as he is a mysterious character that I think would be very interesting to explore.
McFayden has the ability to take me through every emotion both positive and negative but yet still keep me wanting to read more. At points he had me on the verge of tears the next checking to make sure all the doors are locked. There are some disturbing scenes in the book, mainly these are confined to the crime scenes but as I said above Sarah's journal is very powerful and I think some people may have a challenge getting through it because of the content. However, McFayden gives you enough detail, especially through Sarah's story, that will send chills up your spine. I think that McFayden has found a good balance of just giving enough detail to keep his books within the Thriller genre and not venture into Horror.
There are times when serial killer books become typical and you know what it going to happen next; there is nothing typical about McFayden's books. In short, I love this series, author, characters, story everything about it. McFayden is a master when it comes to the serial killer Thriller genre, bring on the next Smokey book, I cannot wait (I have already picked it up, lol).
Note: Although there is not a great amount of description or detail, the main aspect around this book is a young girl who has had to suffer horrible events in her life, this would include sexual, physical and psychological abuse, therefore, some individuals may find it disturbing.