Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone novel.
Sami Rizzo quit the force at the end of Book 1 (They Never Die Quietly) to go back to school. Now, two years later, things are different. She and Al are living together, Angelina (Sami’s daughter) is 4 years old, and Sami’s mother is ill with a heart condition. Also, Sami has discovered that she isn’t all that interested in becoming a social worker after all. Now, a new serial killer is loose in San Diego and Sami wants back om the force and on the case.
As with Book 1 in the series, this book is written from several different view points: Sami’s, Al’s, and the serial killer’s, among others. So us readers have some idea of who the killer is in this case (Julian) and what his motives are. He’s a heart surgeon and is spearheading research into a new technique that could help folks with a certain type of heart condition. However, his application to proceed with live human trials was denied. So now he feels the overwhelming need to snatch people and perform test procedures on them to prove his point.
Julian starts his hunt at a nightclub figuring it would be easiest, and perhaps as close to anonymous as he can get, to pick up a victim using his looks and charm. His first victim is experimented on while she is fully sedated, feeling no pain. However, with each victim, his viciousness escalates. Rape becomes part of his routine and he performs other unnecessary surgeries on the victims. But luckily for the police, he is also sloppy. If and when he does get caught, they will have all sorts of evidence to tie him to the case.
Julian was an interesting character. He started off with these altruistic motives, holding to the idea that the needs of the many are greater than the needs of the individual. At first, I saw him as a kind of mad but well meaning scientist and doctor. But as things escalated it became clear that he took pleasure in other people’s pain and suffering. At that point, I couldn’t wait for Sami and Al to take him down.
I did feel a little cheated by the final big reveal. OK, a lot cheated. In Book 1, we knew from the beginning who the killer was. In this book, I thought I knew from the beginning which heart doctor Julian was and I felt a bit cheated to find out differently at the end. However, if I were to reread this book, I might find clues I missed and think differently. Still, I can’t shake that feeling of being lead astray on purpose by the author.
Meanwhile, Sami has a personal life. She and her mom have never really gotten along but now she’s going to be spending quality time with her. Also, she’s having a little mid-life crisis in that she’s already given up one career to pursue social work only to find she’s not that well suited for it. She and Al haven’t had much time for romance and her Catholic upbringing has her questioning why she’s living with a man she hasn’t married. Then Al has to go off to Rio de Janeiro because his sister (and only living relative) had a very bad car accident. So many stresses for Sami!
On top of all that, she’s still having nightmares about Simon, the serial killer from Book 1. He held her captive for a time, preparing to kill her in a ritual of sorts. She’s wrestled with this for a while and has tried to work through it with a therapist, who has recommended seeing Simon or writing him a letter to help face that residual fear. At first, I wasn’t too sure why this little bit was in here. In fact, I was a bit annoyed with Sami for putting so much emotional energy into fussing over this. Simon is scheduled to be executed and that will be that! However, later in the book she has a small epiphany over what was bothering her about the incident and it all became clear then and I was satisfied with what she realized.
The ending, after that big reveal that I felt cheated by, was pretty good. It tied up the loose ends of the case, including the very questionable activities of a fellow police officer. Then Sami and Al have a significant conversation and I am sure the ramifications of that will carry into the next book. Everything was made tidy and overall, I was pretty satisfied with the story.
I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost as part of the iReads Book Tour in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: Christina Traister was, once again, a great voice for Sami. She really does a good job of imbuing the characters with emotions, especially Sami and later on Al when he is concerned over his sister. She had no problems at all with the medical lingo.