Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mister X by John Lutz (ARC)

Mister XMister X
Author ~ John Lutz
Publisher ~ Pinnacle
Publication date ~ October 1, 2010

He mutilates his victims. Slices their throats. And carves an X into their flesh. Five years ago, he claimed the lives of six women. Then the killings abruptly stopped - no one knows why. Ex-homicide detective Frank Quinn remembers. Which is why he's shocked to see one of the dead women in his office. Actually, she's the identical twin of the last victim, and she wants Quinn to find her sister's murderer. But when the cold case heats up, it attracts the media spotlight - and suddenly the killings start again...

My thoughts ~ 

Frank Quinn and his partners are back in the newly formed Quinn & Associates Investigations. Pearl Kasner was done working as a security guard at a bank and Larry Fedderman (Feds) wasn’t all that interested in catching fish in Florida anymore. So the three of them have settled back into the life they know and love – detecting. Chrissie Keller, having come into a large sum of money, comes to see Frank to hire him. Five years ago her twin sister Tiffany, along with four other young ladies, was killed by the serial killer known as the Carver (I’ll leave why up to your imagination), but he was never caught, and his killings stopped. Frank and his team have a long history of being able to solve serial killer cases. So it’s no surprise that Chrissie Keller would turn to him. But when the team starts digging into the killings word comes down from Police Chief Harley Renz, who Frank has an interesting relationship with, calls and tells them to back off. Let sleeping dogs lie. Now why would he do that? Are his reasons personal or political? Then Chrissie disappears and it’s a whole new ballgame.

Then the killings start again. Is, after all of this time the Carver back? Or is there a sick copycat killer out there? One who knows way to much about the case not to be connected somehow. At this point Renz knows he has no choice but to bring Frank, Pearl and Feds back onto the force. He gives them badges, two other detectives to work the case and a profiler named Addie Price with a dark past of her own. But as Frank and his team really start digging they realize that things just aren’t adding up. Why are there no pictures of Tiffany in the file given to them by Chrissie? When they finally find a picture of her, why does she look nothing like Chrissie? Who is the mystery woman that seems to be shadowing them? Showing up at every crime scene they do and running away before they can catch her. And just what do the flashback chapters of an abused boy named Jerry Grantland, who sneaks out of his house at night to cross the road and watch Tiffany & Chrissie being abused by their father have to do with anything?

After all this time, the feelings between Frank and Pearl seem to still simmer below the surface. But that soon changes when Pearl meets Yancy Taggart and their whirlwind relationship begins. Can Frank deal with his feelings about this relationship while at the same time hunting a deranged serial killer? And when tragedy befalls one of them, will they all be able to go on? The hunt for the Carver and Chrissie heats up and based on information obtained during the investigation, Frank brings in a family member to help draw both the Carver & Chrissie out. The race to stop the killings leads to a stunning, yet deadly conclusion. One that still leaves them with unanswered questions and will have the reader thinking “Holy …..” John Lutz is a masterful story teller who has written a tense, action packed novel filled with so many twists and turns you’ll think you are on amusement park ride. Mister X is a superb suspense novel that will have you reading well into the night, keeping the lights burning bright, constantly checking to make sure all of the doors and windows are locked tight. X definitely marks this spot!