Adrian Magson is the author of 20 crime and spy thrillers, including the Harry Tate series, the Lucas Rocco series and the Marc Portman series. His latest books are ‘The Locker’ (Midnight Ink - Feb 2016) the first in a new thriller series, and ‘Hard Cover’ (Severn House - March 2016), the third of his Marc Portman novels.
Jefferson Winter is a hunter of serial killers. An ex-FBI profiler, he works as much by instinct as he does by experience and training, using his knowledge of the kind of people he hunts to build a picture of the possible suspect.
When he’s hired in to investigate the death of Sam Galloway, a small-town lawyer, who was burned alive on video, he finds the killer has left a computer count-down program which indicates that there will be more victims. And he has very little time to find the killer.
Winter quickly comes to the conclusion that the killer is a cop. Less quickly he realises that the count-down is a feint, and that this is not serial killer at work; the killer is a simple murderer.
Teamed with a young cop and a waitress, he works his way through the community, getting to know who is who, who knew the dead man and who may have wished to profit by his death. Frustratingly, there is no body, because the location of the burning has not been revealed, in spite of extensive searches by the local and state police.
This is a hunt for a murderer, but more than anything it’s a story of misdirection – and not just by the killer. Winter jumps to conclusions and follows the leads to see if they pan out. But his conclusions are often wrong and we’re constantly one step behind him in knowing where we’re going.
The one constant is his belief that the killer is a cop. But which one?
I have to say I enjoyed this book, because it was engaging and the characters were solid and well-drawn. But I found the misdirections a little too convenient for the story (and mostly going on in Winter’s head) so much so that I began to suspect that Winter was in the nature of an unreliable narrator.
However, he does wrap it up in the end, with some great surprises, although by then I was ready for anything.
But a good read all the same, and I would definitely try another of James Carol’s books.