If you’re reading this, I’m already dead…
That’s the note seventeen-year-old Haley Cooke leaves behind when she disappears from inside her high school. FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is called in to figure out who had reason to hurt her. On the surface, the popular cheerleader has no enemies, but as Evelyn digs deeper, she discovers that everyone close to Haley has something to hide. Everyone from estranged parents, to an older boyfriend with questionable connections, to a best friend who envies Haley’s life.
Secrets can be deadly…
One of those secrets may have gotten Haley killed. If she’s still alive, Evelyn knows that the more the investigation ramps up, the more pressure they could be putting on Haley’s kidnapper to make her disappear for good. It’s also possible the teenager isn’t in danger at all, but has skilfully manipulated everyone and staged her own disappearance. Only one thing is certain: uncovering Haley’s fate could be dangerous—even deadly—to Evelyn herself.
When I picked up this book I didn’t realise it was the 4th book in the Profiler series, now I’m not sure about you but I usually hate to start a book which is already part of a well established series, but I’m pleased to report it can be read as a standalone. I’m going to be honest with you here and admit that although I enjoyed Stalked it just didn’t meet my expectations. The first chapter certainly intrigued me, but as I read on this wasn’t a book that grabbed me by the throat. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed Stalked, but maybe because I have read so many outstanding crime thrillers this year I’m expect a hell of a lot more from a book of this genre.
When seventeen year old Hayley goes missing without leaving a trace FBI Profiler Evelyn Blaine is bought in to assist as the police are mystified by her disappearance, it soon becomes clear to Evelyn that those closest to Hayley all have something to hide. Not knowing if Hayley is alive or dead, Evelyn must use all her skills as a Profiler to find Hayley and bring the perpetrator to justice. I could not connect with Evelyn at all, I’m not sure if this was because I picked up Stalked mid series, but I just felt she lacked “personality”, I like my protagonist to have quirks, or traits that make me want to learn more about them, I need a character to be memorable so I’m eagerly waiting for the next book in a series, unfortunately this wasn’t the case with Evelyn.
The plot is full of intrigue and suspense but for me it lacked the relentless pace I look for in a crime thriller, in the authors defence I think this again boils down the amount of outstanding books I’ve read in this genre. At times it felt like the investigation was moving too slowly and there was no frantic race to solve the case, which for me personally heightens my enjoyment of a book.
As I reached the last third of the book I found myself becoming irritated by the number of different theories the investigation team came up with, there were just too many and made the plot a lot more complex than it needed to be. I’m sure there will be plenty of readers who will feel very differently about this novel, and will enjoy it immensely, the author has produced a novel that has some of the elements I look for in a crime thriller but personally I would have liked a more intense and gritty read.
3.5 out of 5
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira Books (27 Dec. 2016)