A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.
In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda's socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Detective Kerri isn't convinced.
Until another random young woman is killed in exactly the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?
Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman - even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.
J.A. Schneider's 'Her Last Breath' was one of my top reads of 2016, so I've been eagerly waiting for the author to write the next Kerri Blasco book ever since. Now that I've read it, I can confidently say that the author has done it again. 'Watching You' is a top-notch chiller!
The story starts with a murder in this Manhattan area:
Yes, everyone... except her killer. This young woman, known for her kind heart and altruism, is murdered in cold blood one night in a dark alley. Despite coming from a well-respected, wealthy family, Leda chose to live and work as a volunteer among the homeless, providing them with food and clothes through the local City Rescue Mission. So who would do such a horrible thing to her? Why?
The girl has been shot at point-blank and a note with the words 'Watching You' has been cruelly pinned to her back. The same note is also found in her phone, having been texted to her two days previously. Kerri is affected badly by this case and together with her boss (and secret lover) Alex Brand immediately starts the investigation, vowing to bring this killer to justice. But with no leads, trace evidence and reliable witnesses, and with countless people having access to Leda's phone number, the investigation soon hits a brick wall. Her killer could be anyone!
When another woman is killed in the same way with the same note thumbtacked to her back shortly after, Kerri and Alex find themselves back to the drawing board, starting from scratch and on a desperate race against time to try and stop this monster from killing more innocent victims. Will Kerri catch this killer before more victims are made? Well... she must first escape his clutches herself!
Schneider has once again pinned me to my kindle with "a crazy, complicated, too many suspects, where to start case" - just my kind of book - a totally gripping, chilling, intriguing thriller. She has drawn up a tense, fast-paced read that literally kept me on the edge of my seat. I found myself devouring huge chunks of the book per sitting, all the time trying hard to ignore the chill running up and down my spine.
Though third in a series, this book can very well be read as a standalone. The plot is brilliant, well-thought out and peppered with twists and turns throughout. And with numerous hints planted here and there by the author my curiosity was kept high at all times. I wanted to know who the killer was, who the next victim will be, how will it all end.
All characters are realistic, flawed and suspicious, and like New York City's sights and sounds they're brought to life in vivid colour. I just love Kerri, haunted by her painful past and hiding her secret love story with the equally likeable Alex. These are both unforgettable characters I wish to meet again and again in future books.
Chapters from the pov of the killer are just disturbing. I was amazed by the ingenious way the killer worked his way from one victim to the next. Well done Ms. Schneider! What a brilliant idea! The author has given life to a demented psychopath who enjoys killing people and taunting the police right under their noses. He's diabolically clever, capable of striking anywhere and anytime and loving nothing more than making the headlines. I can say that I was left open-mouthed when the killer's identity was finally revealed.
This is another fantastic addition to the series. I really enjoyed it and am already looking forward to the next one. Highly recommended!
With thanks to the author for an ARC of this book which I voluntarily accepted to read and review.
J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek Magazine. She is the author of the Embryo medical thriller series, and of the Detective Kerri Blasco Police/Psychological Thrillers: Fear Dreams, Her Last Breath, and Watching You.
She loves to hear from her readers. Her website is jaschneiderauthor.net, her email address is joyce (at) jaschneiderauthor.net, and come say hi on Facebook tinyurl.com/7fm44mk. She lives with her family in Connecticut, loves gardening, and is working on her next Detective Kerri Blasco thriller.