on May 30, 2017
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Also in this series: Phantom Evil, The Hidden, Heart of Evil, Haunted Destiny, Deadly Fate, Darkest Journey, Echoes of Evil, The Summoning, The Seekers, The Unholy, The Dead Heat of Summer, The Unforgiven, The Forbidden
As a teenager, Vickie Preston survived an attack by a serial killer. That was the first time she saw a ghost. Now the city of Boston is being terrorized—someone is kidnapping women and burying them alive, but cruelly leaving a glimmer of hope for the authorities by sending a clue about their location. Vickie is pulled into the investigation when her name is mentioned in one of the notes. And as a historian, she has the knowledge to help uncover the graves the killer known as the Undertaker is choosing. But she also has another, unique lead: the spirit of one of the victims is appearing to her in dreams.
Special Agent Griffin Price is on the case for the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI's special unit for paranormal investigators. He feels particularly protective of Vickie, since their shared past is connected to the threat that currently surrounds them. With the killer accelerating his plans, time is running out for more victims hidden around the city. Vickie is becoming closer with Griffin, but she's getting too close to the danger, and every breath could be her last.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Dying Breath kicks off a trilogy-within-a-series which will feature the same couple investigating three crimes. It’s part of the Krewe of Hunters series, so I went in expecting suspense, mytery, romance, and more than a dash of the paranormal. And that’s exactly what I got.
The novel kicks off with teenage Vickie Preston escaping a serial killer after heeding the warning of a ghost Years later, with the killer still behind bars, Vickie appears to be connected to a new string of deaths and disappearances: young women who are being buried alive. And the cop who saved her life is now assigned to the case as a federal agent with the Krewe of Hunters. As Vickie and Griffin grow closer, the threat to Vickie herself grows — and other people connected to Vickie’s past are drawn in as well.
Graham kept me guessing throughout the entire book, setting up suspect after suspect to look suspicious before appearing to clear them…but not necessarily doing so. I can honestly say I didn’t see the solution coming. As my regular readers know, I’m not a fan of serial killer books, but for some reason I can usually handle this series, in part because Graham maintains just enough distance from the killers’ twisted minds. We see it more from the outside than the inside, which means I can enjoy the suspense and the romance while viewing the actual murders as a puzzle to be solved rather than as the exploration of a dark psyche. There are scenes where we get the killer’s third-person POV (without knowing who it is), but even then, it’s usually more about what they say and do than what they are thinking and feeling. That’s certainly true in this book. Those glimpses into the villain’s actions may also have made it more rather than less difficult to figure out who the murderer was.
I really like Vickie and Griffin together, despite a bit of an age difference. It’s no surprise that as a teen, Vickie had a bit of a crush on Griffin, who was a young rookie cop when he saved her life. Now that they’re both adults, a mutual attraction and trust builds quickly but believably. Both of them are able to see ghosts; in Vickie’s case, it’s the same ghost who warned her all those years ago. Since she can see and hear him, he has stayed with her, a sort of younger brother or good friend. He’s more than a plot device; he’s a full-fledged secondary character with a slightly cheeky charm.
And it’s a good thing that I like both Vickie and Griffin, because as I mentioned, they continue as protagonists for the next two books. That’s not the usual modus operandi for this series, which usually focuses on a new couple in each book (though all of them are connected to the Krewe in some way, and usually at least one has been a minor or secondary character in a previous book.) I’m looking forward to seeing Vickie and Griffin’s relationship develop, and wondering how long it will be before Vickie herself joins the Krewe.