Bantam, Oct 27 2009, $25.00
Near the beach in Los Angeles, Callie Thorne is marrying Sam Brady with most of the attendees being from or associated with the local FBI office. Both work for the Feds with the bride employed in the local branch of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) and the groom on the SWAT. However, a car driving by stops for a nanosecond to throw out a bald headed emaciate female. The incoherent female has been missing for eight years and was a cop.
NCAVC local branch chief Smoky Barret, a matron of honor at the wedding, soon begins to put together the ugly picture of a psychopathic mercenary dubbed “Dali”. Apparently husbands hire this maniac to kidnap no longer wanted wives to rid them from their lives; the abductor stores them in tiny dark cells for years as pieces of meat in case the need arises to demand remittance from a slacker client. The culprit receives half the life insurance or else extorts a lot more from those who renege on their fee. When Dali realizes Smokey is getting close to unraveling the motive for liberating the victim, the meat processor abducts her giving her a choice between her liberty and the death of a teammate.
Putting aside Smokey’s abduction record (her face scarred and her spouse and preadolescent daughter murdered) and the text messaging taunting, Barrett’s fourth FBI serial killer is a super cat and mouse game. The chilling brilliant psychopath, whose “meat packing” business is thriving in spite of the ecomony makes for a fast-paced story line from the moment the maniac text messages Smokey with a gift and never slows down from there. Fans of the series will relish Smokey’s latest violent crime case (see SHADOW MAN).