He likes them smart.
In the woods of Whisper, Georgia, two bodies are found: one recently dead, the other decayed from a decade of exposure to the elements. The sheriff is going to need help to track down an experienced predator—one who abducts girls and holds them for months before ending their lives. Enter ex–FBI profiler and private investigator Keye Street.
He lives for the struggle.
After a few weeks, Keye is finally used to sharing her downtown Atlanta loft with her boyfriend, A.P.D. Lieutenant Aaron Rauser. Along with their pets (his dog, her cat) they seem almost like a family. But when Rauser plunks a few ice cubes in a tumbler and pours a whiskey, Keye tenses. Her addiction recovery is tenuous at best.
And loves the fear.
Though reluctant to head out into the country, Keye agrees to assist Sheriff Ken Meltzer. Once in Whisper, where the locals have no love for outsiders, Keye starts to piece together a psychological profile: The killer is someone who stalks and plans and waits. But why does the sociopath hold the victims for so long, and what horrible things must they endure? When a third girl goes missing, Keye races against time to connect the scant bits of evidence. All the while, she cannot shake the chilling feeling: Something dark and disturbing lives in these woods—and it is watching her every move.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: July 1st 2014 by Bantam
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Four Stars: A masterful mystery thriller with plenty of suspense that will keep you engaged until the final riveting and shocking reveal.
Keye Street wears many hats. She is a private detective, a bail recovery agent and former criminal investigative analyst for the FBI as well as a profiler. When Keye receives a call from a small town sheriff, Ken Metzger, in rural Georgia asking for her help in solving a murder case, Keye can't resist. In Whisper, Georgia, a small town, two bodies were recently discovered in the swamp lands. Two thirteen year old girls murdered ten years apart and dumped. Keye heads down to Georgia to help catch a killer. She quickly learns that not everyone in the small town is willing to welcome her with open arms. Then the unthinkable happens. Another thirteen year old girl vanishes. The clock is ticking. Can Keye catch a psychopath murderer before it is too late?
What I Liked:
- It isn't often that I delve into the psychological/murder mystery thriller genre, but when I do I liked to be entertained without too many gruesome details and disturbing story lines. Thankfully, Don't Talk To Strangers is a book that manages to provide plenty of suspense and thrill without too much unsettling material. If you are on the hunt for a solid thriller this is a good bet.
- Keye Street was a terrific character. I loved that she is multifaceted and deeply flawed and tough. Keye is a divorced recovering alcoholic recently fired from the FBI. Yet she is smart, sophisticated and she knows how to think like a killer. I enjoyed getting to know her, and I appreciated that she not only made mistakes but that she was tempted by a handsome sheriff. It was nice to have a female lead who was extremely intelligent and a bit flawed. I thought the author struck just the right balance with Keye. She doesn't come off as pretentious at all.
- The murder mystery is top notch. I liked that there were plenty of leads and all sorts of angles to explore. Some parts were chilling and downright frightening. It was scary to see into the mind of the predator as there were a few snippets from the perpetrators view point. Of course, there are plenty of red herrings to chase down before the big terrifying reveal. When the culprit was identified, I was shocked, and then stunned again at the finale. Superb ending!
- One of my favorite aspects of the story was when Keye put on her profiler thinking cap and explained the profile of the type of murderer they were dealing with. The analysis and the detail of the predator was frightening to read. The killer was portrayed as a well known person in the town who appeared perfectly ordinary. It was truly creepy! I appreciated that the author managed to walk the fine line with providing just enough detail and description to give you the chills, but not so much that I was grossed out. I am not a reader big on gore and disturbing imagery so I appreciated that the creepy stuff was not over the top.
- This was the third book in the Keye Street series. I wasn't aware going in that I was picking up the series three books in, but I had absolutely no issues reading this out of order. This works as a complete stand alone mystery. Everything is resolved and tied up at the end. The author provides plenty of detail regarding Keye's history so I was not lost at all. This is a series that can be read out of order with no problems. I would definitely like to go back and check out the other two books, though as I enjoyed this one.
And The Not So Much:
- I enjoyed the banter and camaraderie between Keye, her business partner, Neil, and their newly hired office assistant, Latisha early on in the book. Latisha is hilarious with her funny dialogue. I was a bit disappointed that Keye spent the entire book away from her normal environment as I enjoyed the banter in the office, not to mention, Latisha provided some much needed comedic relief that would have been great toward the end.
- With any type of murder mystery there are usually plenty of red herrings, or false leads to chase down and expose. This was the case with this story, but unfortunately, I didn't feel like any of them were believable. I wasn't convinced for a minute that any of the people the team was investigating early on was the killer.
- Even though I appreciated that the author pulled no punches at the end and didn't quite provide the happy ending I was expecting, I was shocked and stunned at the turn of events at the end, and sad that things ended the way they did.
- I would like to have gotten to know Keye's boyfriend, Rauser, a bit better. His role was minimal in this book. Hopefully, I can get a better read on him in one of the other books. He seems like a fascinating character.
Don't Talk To Strangers is a thrilling, page turning murder mystery with heavy suspense, atmospheric tension and plenty of twists and turns leading up to a shocking ending that will leave you stunned. If you are looking for an exciting thriller for your summer reading, this is a solid read. You can pick this up without hesitation as it reads well as a stand alone.
"Funny how it always seems like you're doing great until someone is standing in front of you, willing and capable and put together, and you realize how broken you are."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.