To catch a killer, you must first think like one…
A killer is playing a twisted game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead.
In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die.
But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby asks her gangster boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to set up a dangerous meeting to allow her to see into the twisted mind of a murderer.
But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team becomes. Is he really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining her up to be his next victim?
Having read seven of her books now - all absolutely brilliant - for me, the name Caroline Mitchell has become synonymous with excellent, nail-biting thrillers. With a supernatural element added to the mix, I thought the DC Jennifer Knight series was fantastic, but I must say that I like the Detective Ruby Preston one even more.
In Murder Game, the third book in the Ruby Preston series, the wife of a prominent figure in the media goes missing. The husband does not receive a ransom note, but a series of photos showing his wife bound and gagged, and in the third, looking like she's dead. In another package he's horrified to make a gruesome discovery. Where is his wife? Who has done this to her? DC Ruby Preston of the Shoreditch Serious Crime Unit and her superior DI Jack Downes rush to the man's house to begin their investigation. It is immediately evident that this case bears many similarities to a series of murders that took place a decade earlier by a serial killer dubbed The Lonely Hearts Killer. But this killer is now in prison. He couldn't have done this. Is this the job of a copy cat? But how is this killer copying details that were never made public? Why was this woman targeted?
"She deserved to be punished. All of them do."
When another woman goes missing, and still without any leads or evidence, Ruby becomes desperate to find the killer. But in order to do so she needs to understand how the mind of a killing machine works. There's only one individual that could help her in this... The Lonely Hearts Killer, from prison. But this killer is cold and shrewd and won't give her the answers she needs unless she dances to his tune. He wants to play mind games with her and offers her only cryptic answers which Ruby must try and decipher. Will Ruby be able to outwit this dangerous criminal that could lead her to the monster running free? Will she be able to bring the killer's reign of terror to an end before more victims are claimed?
Phew! What a dizzying roller-coaster ride. Now that I've finished this book, I can finally take some deep breaths and allow my heart beat to return to normal. The author took me through twists, turns and an intricate and fast-paced plot, making it very hard for me to stay away from the book for long periods. I wanted to know who the killer was and why they were doing this. And I was curious to understand how Ruby will manage to extricate the clues she needs from the evil Lonely Hearts Killer.
All characters are very realistic and complex with backgrounds and depth. Ruby is a bold, strong-headed sergeant who's not afraid to bend the rules in order to achieve results. Her close relationship with the notorious Crosby criminal family is not exactly a badge of honour she proudly wears at work. I like Downes and love the unique underlying feeling and special bond that exists between him and Ruby at work.
I compared the scenes where the killer terrorises his poor victims to when a spider catches a fly and starts to mercilessly spin it in its web before delivering the final mortal bite. These scenes sent shivers down my spine. The ending just made me gasp.
This author has once again managed to keep me engrossed in a suspenseful story till the very end. This is another absolutely brilliant addition to the series and I highly recommend it. Caroline Mitchell roll on the next one please!!
With thanks to Bookouture for approving my request to read and review this book through NetGalley.
USA Today Bestselling Thriller Author.
Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family, parrot and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. Published by Bookouture and Thomas & Mercer, she now writes full time and all her books have become number 1 best sellers in their categories.
Her fast-paced DC Jennifer Knight thrillers carry a hint of the supernatural and are weaved from Caroline's personal experiences in the police and paranormal.
Set in Shoreditch, London, her DS Ruby Preston series is described as "terrifying, addictive serial killer thrillers".
Caroline also writes psychological thrillers, the most recent, Witness, has been described as "thrilling, tense, exciting, dark and twisted in the best possible way".
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