Set in 1999, internet dating is starting to gain in popularity. This serial killer finds it the perfect way to both hunt his victims and taunt the police. Jennifer Warren has been trying to get into the local police academy, yet her application keeps being denied. Until she succeeds, she works for the police commissioner. Pretty soon, she is swept up in the hunt for the Net Killer.
The story starts off by showing the reader the soon-to-be-killer growing up, without giving away the identity. This is done in small scenes and then the bulk of the story is set in 1999, told from several different points of view. The author did a good job of keeping the identity of the killer secret for most of the story. Of course, as things start to wind down, I couldn’t help but start eliminating suspects. I found this as much fun as listening to the tale. I had it narrowed down to two people and I was gratified when I wasn’t completely off the mark.
Jen is an interesting character. She’s working in a man’s world at a time when workplace harassment of various types was not just the norm, but also expected, especially for a woman trying to break into a ‘man’s role’. Again, the author did a great job of showing the various forms of harassment and misogyny – everything from totally in your face ‘get out of here’, to the patronizing head pat, to the let’s get a cup of coffee and date idiocy. It was really well done. Despite all these obstacles, Jen holds onto her father’s memory, who was a cop as well. She wants to make him proud, even if he is no longer alive.
So the killer meets these various women through internet dating sites. He’s charming and has them hooked right away and then he kills them, typically at their place or a ‘his’ place. He picks a homey apartment or house and tells his dates it’s his place. I really liked that the various women all reacted a bit differently. Some did their best to smash the guy in the face and then run and hide. Some improvised weapons and tried to fight him off. I liked that they weren’t all a bunch of silly fainting geese. Once the deed is done, the killer sends a taunting email with a poem in it to the police.
This book was better than I expected. It wasn’t some simple slasher movie or a gore fest or a Women Haters Anonymous groupie movie. It was actually pretty good and had several clever moments. I liked that I didn’t know right away who the killer was and that it took most of the book for me to narrow it down. I liked that Jen had so many obstacles to go over or around in order to track the killer, though I did find the final cat & mouse game between the killer and her to be a bit overly dramatic. I even liked that the various men and women reacted differently to Jen’s wish to become a cop.
I won a copy of another audiobook by this author via Audio Book Reviewer and the author tossed this one in addition.
Narration: Jeannie Lin had good character voices and kept them all distinct. Her male voices were believable. The volume for this audiobook did vary quite a bit so I don’t suggest listening with earbuds. Lin did take the time to add in computer sounds, like IM pings, and to make it really sound like a character was talking over a phone.