Judith D Collins
By: Anne Frasier
Series: Elise Sandburg #3
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 9/1/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
A serial killer stalks the streets of Savannah...
Homicide detective Elise Sandburg and her partner, profiler David Gould, are all too familiar with the terrible costs of chasing evil. Despite their wounded psyches, the detectives delve into the deranged killer’s twisted mind, determined to unravel the clues in the taunts he leaves behind.
A city gripped by fear...
When his daughter becomes the killer’s next victim, a grief-stricken mayor comes down hard on the police, demanding that they catch the psychopath—now. Feeling the pressure, department officials enlist the aid of both Elise’s estranged father and an FBI profiler who has unresolved business with David.
A cunning and elusive madman...
In a heart-pounding race to stop the next homicide, the detectives uncover their own role in the madman’s deadly game. Will they outsmart the killer before another horrific murder takes place in their beautiful city? Or have Elise and David finally met their match?
A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Anne Frasier delivers the third in the gritty and edgy, (Elise Sandburg Series) crime thriller, PRETTY DEAD. Taking readers to the mysterious southern Savannah, Georgia— a dynamic duo, with a past of their own--Homicide detective Elise Sandburg and partner/profiler, David Gould. Savannah had a reputation for being weird. The city embraced it, with ghost tours and the ongoing stigma attached toMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. However, it was a city of historic beauty and culture. A little of good and evil. “Beneath beauty lie many dark deeds.” A deranged, psycho-evil, and twisted serial killer is out there, and these two are determined to track him down, no matter the dangers or obstacles. Will he outsmart this team?Have they met their match? As the book opens, we meet a serial killer, hooked on death. The more he kills, the more he wanted to do so. Addiction to the quest for pleasure. The high. He needed variety so as not to be bored. Since he is sick of snow in Philadelphia, he is looking for warmer weather—Savannah seems like a good choice, so he makes his plan. Elise Sandburg had been made head detective of Savannah Police Department and he was looking at a photo of her taken in a cemetery behind the police department. She was attractive and the man beside of her, David Gould—a handsome man. His favorite type – twenty-something, dark-haired males-younger versions of Gould. He likes to do them and then kill them. Since he was an opportunistic killer, in order to play against type, he sometimes went for females. Of course, they were not his drug of choice. What comes first, the killer or the kill? He devoured profiler books and he knew how to avoid the stereotypes. So with each move, he became a different person, a different profile. He was going to Savannah, Georgia. Six month earlier David and Elise bonded over injuries and suffered at the hands of the monster the press called “The Organ Thief. Now they are stuck with Jay Thomas Paul, early forties an over enthusiastic reporter, for the New York Times. He shadows their every move. He seems to always be listening and watching. At first the victims appear to be women involved in illegal activity. Prostitutes or drug deals gone bad, or so the mayor believes, so he can say the beautiful southern town is safe. Caroline, the mayor's daughter becomes a victim and is murdered. The pressure is on to find the killer. Then there is her Elsie’s estranged father, Jackson Sweet who is called in to consult with the investigation, and an FBI profiler-- Vic Lamont who David blames for his son’s death. His dead ex-wife and Lamont—it had been two years since he lived in the darkness. In the past he turned to prescription drugs, alcohol, and sex with strangers. So now both Elsie and David both to re-live their past, now a major part of the present. All the while there is tension between Elsie and Jackson, and her thirteen year old daughter, Audrey who wants to see her grandfather. Then another key player winds up murdered and suspicions mount-- no one can be trusted---some need protection, and loyalties are strong. Now David is a prime suspect. A game of cat and mouse, puzzle patterns, with a serial killer trying to become the person he plays, while enjoying outsmarting David Gould. Now Audrey may be in danger. Will they discover the identity of the killer, before it is too late? A lot of elements going on and the author keeps a fast pace, with heart- pounding intensity. Strong emotions and tensions mount between two key characters and people from their past. From crazy clues to crossword puzzles—crossing many genres: a mix of dark humor, wit, psycho, suspense, paranormal, and a delicious crime thriller. Ending with a shocker, looking forward to the next in the series to see what comes next for this fun cast of characters. Let me start off by saying, PRETTY DEAD hooked me from the first page to the last. Not sure why this author has not been on my radar; since this was my first book by Frasier; however, thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for introducing me to this fine crime thriller author and gripping series. This situation is about to change—A new fan! I could not get to Audible fast enough to purchase PLAY DEAD (#1) AND STAY DEAD (#2). What an intriguing series – cannot wait to hear the back story of these flawed and complex characters! In addition, to the PRETTY DEAD advanced reaing copy, I happened to be traveling-- could not wait to get back to reading, purchasing the audio to keep abreast, while driving. Loved the narrator Natalie Ross, with a suspenseful performance, and a wide range of voices. At times, with the mention of the Georgia FBI, I felt like I was into Karin Slaughter’s world, one of my southern favorites; and strongly reminded of J. Carson Black, another one of my favorites. Being a Georgian for years, love Savannah and always find the town intriguing and mysterious—especially when you have such engaging characters as in this series. (love Strata Luna) Hats off to the designer, a stickler for covers, marketing, and branding – encouraging you to read all the books in the series. It worked!
About the Author
Anne Frasier is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-five books and numerous short stories that have spanned the genres of suspense, mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, paranormal, and memoir. Her titles have been printed in both hardcover and paperback and translated into twenty languages. Her career began in 1998 with Amazon Lily, a cult sensation and winner of numerous awards. Her first memoir, The Orchard, was a 2011 O, The Oprah Magazine Fall Pick, number two on the Indie Next List, and a Librarians’ Best Books of 2011.
She divides her time between the city of St. Paul, Minnesota, and her writing studio in rural Wisconsin. Website Twitter Goodreads