Once Gone by Blake Pierce
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you enjoy psychological thrillers, you might enjoy the Riley Paige series. This is book one. Riley Paige is on a leave of absence from the FBI at the beginning of the book due to her own encounter with a serial killer where she was held captive after freeing another victim. I feel like they should have started with that event, actually showing her in captivity, instead of just telling the reader what she dealt with during the few flashbacks in the book.
Needless to say, she is traumatized by the experience, which gives some insight to her character. Her relationship with her ex-husband, her father, and even her own daughter are suffering. However, she is approached by her partner Bill who asks her to consider cutting her leave short. The Bureau could really use her "expertise."
A serial killer is torturing and then murdering women and posing them in hideous ways in places they will be seen. Riley reluctantly agrees to team up with Bill on this case feeling that her instincts are "off" and her mind is still too fragile, which they are, and it is. After a few false starts, her instincts return and they are able to capture a criminal even though there are people in government and the Bureau itself working against her.
(Small spoiler) She gets caught by the killer again in this case! There's something wrong with a heroine who becomes the victim of two different serial killers. In my opinion, that shows poor instincts, and the author goes on and on about how her instincts are stellar. Yet she portrays her as wishy-washy. Is she a rogue agent who doesn't follow protocols thereby getting herself into avoidable trouble, or is she this gifted agent who can get in the minds of serial killers enough to get them caught? I think Blake Pierce was trying to write the character as being both of those descriptions, but reality doesn't actually work that way. The story is only somewhat believable.
The main storyline as well as subplots came to satisfying conclusions, and the ending of the book sets the scene for book 2 in the series, but I'm not ready to rush out and read it. I liked the book better than the previous one I read (The Secret Witness) but not nearly as much as the one I am currently reading.
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