My thanks go out to Noelle, representing publisher Bookouture, for saving me a place on this lovely ‘Books On Tour’ schedule.
I also need to thank the great NetGalley team, for always making life so easy when downloading review copies.
LOST ANGELS – (Nikki Hunt #3)
On her hands and knees, Nikki moved to the other side of the body. She couldn’t stop her fingers from trembling as she brushed the dark hair off the victim’s face. She couldn’t look away. “I know her…”
When Special Agent Nikki Hunt is called to the Boundary Waters near Stillwater, Minnesota, it’s not just the cold that shocks her to her core: the body of a young woman has been found frozen beside a remote lake. Nikki is devastated to see the victim is her childhood friend Annmarie, and she recognizes the velvet ribbon tied in her hair as the hallmark of a serial killer who she has been hunting for years.
Desperate for justice, Nikki throws herself into the case. But she is shaken by what she finds at Annmarie’s home: a dead-bolt on her front door and a map in the spare room, with the locations of murdered women circled in thick, red marker. Did Annmarie know she was next? Then Nikki finds out that the killer has left a clue in Annmarie’s bedroom: a photo of Nikki’s mother that no one has ever seen. Has the murderer at large been in Nikki’s life since she was a child?
Nikki soon realizes that the key to unlocking this case is in her own family, but digging up the past could put her own daughter in danger. She has spent her whole life protecting the ones she loves, but to find this killer Nikki might have to risk everything…
Stacy grew up in southeastern Iowa where life was always a step slower and everyone knew each other’s name. She spent her early years watching crime shows with her parents, so her love of suspense and psychological thrillers is no surprise.
A natural introvert, Stacy turned to writing early on, compiling notebooks of stories. She read every mystery she could get her hands on, from Nancy Drew to Trixie Belden to Agatha Christie and more. It wasn’t until she read Anne Rice’s Interview With A Vampire that she realized how deeply she wanted to create her own literary world.
A college professor changed her mind, however, and Stacy found herself in the magazine journalism program at Drake University. After earning her degree in journalism and sociology, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her miracle child.
She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote several articles for a city magazine before penning her first novel.
Stacy is blessed to be a full-time writer and follower of her dreams, but when she’s not writing, she spends her time with her precocious daughter, supportive husband, and their three obnoxious but lovable canine children.
Keep up to date with all Stacy’s latest news at her website
Follow Stacy on Twitter
Connect with Stacy on Facebook
PROLOGUE – QUANTICO, VIRGINIA
Six years ago. He watched the movers load trucks for a while. The house owners emerged from the red-brick colonial home a few times, checking the progress or carrying a smaller box to one of their personal vehicles. She came out more than he did, her dark hair held back in a ponytail. Even at this distance, he could tell she was the one in charge. She knew who she was, and he envied that about her.
ONE – STILLWATER, MINNESOTA
Monday, present day. Nikki stared out of the window, her stomach rolling as the expanse of water below her grew larger. She didn’t mind flying, but small planes always made her feel like she was about to crawl out of her skin. The flight from the ranger station in Ely to their destination was only about twenty minutes long, but she would be happy when it was over.
“No matter how many cases she worked, seeing the absolute stillness of the body and realizing it was no more than a shell of a human always gave Nikki pause. Her mentor in the behavioural analysis unit at Quantico had told her that the moment death stopped affecting her, she’d know it was time for a career change, and she’d lived by that rule ever since”
“Nikki shook her head. It was hard to believe the people responsible for providing humane care for the elderly were paid so little, while professional athletes and entertainers mad ridiculous salaries”
“Nikki knew that seniority in law enforcement was a double-edged sword. It often earned the respect of the department, but it also put them closer to retirement. In times of upper-level change, a senior officer butting heads with a new boss was a good way to get on the fast track to early retirement”
“There’s a fine line between fear and respect, my friend. I just know how to walk it”
“We all look at the world through the lens created by our experiences. In order to really understand someone’s issues, you have to figure out what shaped their lens”
“She needed to start living in the present. But right now, the past had to be untangled”
“I know her…”
Okay! So what if the penny began to drop about half way through the story? Would I have even had the remotest thoughts about side-lining the rest of the book?
Not on your life! Never in a million years would I have passed up the opportunity to see this journey through to the bitter end, because I know from past experience that any investigation Nikki Hunt is involved in, “ain’t over until the fat lady sings”, and that author Stacy Green wouldn’t have hesitated to keep throwing in those curved balls, right up until the finish line!
Besides which, my sleuthing powers aren’t always as good as I imagine them to be, so I might have been on completely the wrong track! Not that I had to wait too long to find out, as I powered my way through this addictive, need-to-know-now, storyline in less than 24 hours!
This story hit the ground running and the intensely relentless, grinding pace, never let up until The Frost Killer is at large no more. Oh! and just to make sure that my reading OCD tendencies weren’t forgotten, Nikki Hunt managed to live to fight another day, although more than a little battered and bruised by the experience and made fully aware that “revenge is a dish that is best served cold”
The first three episodes in the Nikki Hunt series, have featured this same fearless protagonist, who leaves his own unique ‘calling card’ as he despatches his victims. It has become clear with the passing of time, that he is calmly yet deliberately goading and baiting Nikki herself, which is beginning to make her professional life very difficult and leaves her very complicated personal life, becoming evermore disjointed and frayed around the edges. Not to worry if you haven’t managed to catch all three books, although of course they are all brilliant and deserve to be shared, as the ongoing backstory is fully fleshed out, as and when necessary, as the story unfolds, but without becoming repetitive or taking up valuable plot space in the book. This saga needed to be wrapped up for everyone concerned, in the hope that Nikki can now reconcile and weave together, the two things most important to her, career and family, as she moves forward, especially with the one final, devastating body blow inflicted on her and which I definitely never saw coming. What do I think her chances are of her ever having that stable, joined-up life? – A big fat zero!
Whilst trying to keep a lid on her overflowing emotions as The Frost Killer becomes more and more daring and dangerous, Nikki also has to battle the divisive and uncooperative nature of the many autocratic and autonomous local police and sheriff’s departments, who have become involved in the investigation. With her own team behind her 100% and able to air and discuss any divisions they may have between them, or between them and Nikki as their leader, the last thing that anyone needs are any obstructive and self serving law enforcement officers withholding vital information, in the hope of making a name for themselves. But Nikki proves she is more than able to handle herself and is quite prepared to crack heads together when necessary, although she is first to hold her hands up when she makes a mistake and she definitely takes it personally if she has inadvertently put anyone’s life in danger along the way.
This multi-layered, intensely textured story, is rich in atmosphere and skilfully structured, by an author totally at ease with her characters and confident in her storytelling, as she builds an immersive experience for her readers. There is some great visuality to the assured and observational narrative and conversational dialogue, which offers a real sense of time and place, although I was trying not to visualise myself alongside the frozen waters of this Minnesotan landscape too hard, as I couldn’t think of a more dark and forbidding place to have my remains left to be discovered by unsuspecting passers by.
Stacy has created and given life, to a well drawn and defined cast of characters, who are more than capable of forging their own journey and telling their story, in a voice which is loud and clear. They very much drive this investigation and are given an equal stake in how everything eventually pans out, as ultimately the decisions which can change lives in just the blink of an eye, are their and theirs alone. Yes, they are an emotionally complex bunch, but they are also authentic and genuine, which makes them totally believable and relatable, as they have established a synergy and code of ethics, which makes them easy to connect with, whether I wanted to or not in some cases!
All I know, is that I can’t wait for Nikki to have a new investigation to get her teeth into, and as Stacy did give away a teensy spoiler at the end of the book, I already know it is one not to be missed!
A complimentary download of this book for review purposes, was made available by Bookouture and supplied by NetGalley
Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.
I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars!