Meet the serial killer, Simon, who is also a physical therapist. He’s a self-appointed savior of humanity, cleansing people one at a time in his Room of Redemption. After his third victim is found, Detectives Sami Rizzo and Alberto Diaz are assigned the case. The pressure is on as San Diego politicians demand results in the hunt for the killer.
This book started off pretty strong and interesting. The reader knows right from the start who the serial killer is and that also makes us privy to his motivations. His physically dead mother is still giving directions in his head. He truly believes that God and his mother want him to cleanse these women in order for them to be redeemed. However, his cleansing leaves them crucified, a rather brutal death.
Simon isn’t stupid. He’s careful about how he selects his targets, typically choosing women he has no ordinary contact with. He also picks women who have small kids and he scoops them up in a non-threatening way together. Later, he releases the kid at some public place. The bodies keep turning up at religious sites. The inner workings of Simon were twisted, but in a logical sense. Overall, Simon is a very interesting antagonist. I think this book is set perhaps in the 1990s. People are still smoking indoors and Sami is the only female detective. This also means there is limited forensic knowledge and tech. As such, Simon isn’t leaving much evidence on the bodies for the detectives to work with.
Sami Rizzo is a single mother, Angelina being about 2 years old. Angelina’s father, Tommy DiSalvo, walked out on them some time ago. Sami is an intriguing character because she is both obviously feminine but also a detective, working with an all male cast day in and day out. She’s a voluptuous woman and not a twig, which was a nice touch. She lives near her mother Josephine who babysits often even though the two ladies don’t get along.
Al Diaz is another interesting character. Being of Mexican decent, he catches some crap from some of the fellows at work. Sami and he are a good detective pair, being able to both joke around and divide and conquer the work load. Al still has contacts across the border and these come in handy for a side plot involving Sami’s ex-husband.
As you can see, the set up is real good. I was hooked from the start and definitely caught up in the main characters’ lives. I also appreciated that the victims we see alive and in Simon’s hands aren’t all meek. Victim #4, Peggy, fights verbally and physically for her life and then for the safety of her daughter April.
A chance meeting on Thanksgiving Day puts Sami and Simon in the same room. Of course, neither knows who the other is at first. Much later on, Sami suspects she knows who the killer is. And this is where the story becomes a bit cliched. She decides to try to take him down all on her own in order to prove something. She doesn’t tell anyone where she is going or leave a note, just in case. I had to roll my eyes a little at this because it is an overly used plot device. Yes, it gave us drama and, yes, I wanted to see how things would turn out. I was invested in the characters and the book as a whole at this point. I was hoping there would be some unexpected twist at the end, but there wasn’t. Things pretty much followed the boiler plate plot from this point forward.
Overall, it was an entertaining read. Perhaps two-thirds of it had me completely sucked in and trying to guess what would happen next. Even after things got predictable, I still wanted to see it through. The side plot that had Diaz tapping his contacts over the border was a good one, adding some additional mystery to the plot.
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 a great voice for Sami. She’s assertive without being a jerk. I like that she can sound both grateful and exasperated at the same time (this happens quite a bit when Sami is dealing with her mother). Her male voices were believable and distinct. Her pronunciation of Spanish words needs assistance and her Spanish accent could use some improving.