Max Allan Collins
Obsidian, Nov 2007, $6.99, 304 pp.
Like most cities in the United States, Lawrence Kansas has a homeless problem that the authorities would like to move out of their area but they don’t want to see anyone killed. Somebody though is murdering the homeless population, stalking them, drugging them, chaining them in an enclosed area making them hope they can get away. To date four bodies have been found in various places around the town but the police are no closer to finding the killer than they were the day the first corpse was found.
In desperation, the police call in the Behavioral Analysis Unit, a group of expert profilers to assist them in finding the killer. When the team arrives, they get to work right away and though they have no leads they come to the same interesting conclusions; the most important one being that the hate crimes are escalating with more signs of violence on the later victims. While the BAU is in Lawrence, twenty-year-old college drama student Kelly Bonder is kidnapped and the ransom is $68,000. In such a quiet town, the profilers believe this crime is linked to their case and if they discover the connection they will find the killer. They race against the clock too uncover the perp before the ransom deadline arrives.
This novel is based on the television show Criminal Minds and readers get to see the step by step criminal investigation of the FBI. The prologue is in the first person voice of the killer and he speaks periodically throughout the book which sends goose bumps down the spine of the audience because he sounds so sane in his insanity. The investigation takes place in the third person and is also terrifying because the reader feels the tension of the last victim. This crime thriller absorbs the reader in the unfolding drama of mind games played by a brilliant serial killer.