"The suspense is top-notch, and the characters are absolutely compelling."
Reviewed by Min Jung
Posted May 31, 2011
Mystery | Suspense | Action
Casey Woods runs a unique business called Forensic
Instincts. Her training is as a behaviorist. She also
employs a former Navy SEAL and a technology specialist.
The company takes cases on a freelance basis, and they are
able to cut corners that law enforcement agencies cannot.
Untethered to the law and not bound by bureaucracy, they can
often solve cases faster than the local police or the FBI,
although not by conventional means (and in ways those
agencies would rather not know about).
The day after solving a case, Casey gets a frantic call from
Judge Hope Willis. Hope's daughter Krissy has been
kidnapped. Hope's husband is reluctant to employ the
services of Forensic Instincts and Casey is sure Hope is
hiding something from the team, but she decides to hear them
out in person before deciding whether to take the case.
Once Casey hears Hope's secret, though, she decides the team
must get involved.
Of course, the usual law enforcement agencies have also been
called in -- the local police department, the county police
agency, and the FBI, who has sent out their Behavioral
Assessment Unit to profile the case. The agencies are all
working harmoniously with each other and even manage to
strike an alliance with Forensic Instincts. Within this mix
is Claire, an intuitive who works with the local police, and
Patrick, a former FBI agent.
This book was an absolute page-turner. Once I started it,
it was difficult to put it down. The suspense was
top-notch, and the characters was absolutely compelling.
The dialogue was well-written, and it's clear that the
author has spent time around law enforcement agents (and I
say this as the daughter of a police officer).
There were times when I was sure that I had solved the
mystery, only to doubt myself pages later. I think it's a
mark of a great suspense novel when the reader is kept
guessing until the very end but isn't made to feel like a
fool. The very minor qualm I have with the book is that the
varying agencies got along a little too well. As far as
that point, I found the latter parts of the book more
believable than the beginning.
I really hope that this is the first of a Forensic Instincts
series. If so, I'll definitely be in line to buy the next
book on the day it drops in bookstores!
SHE COULDN’T STOP IT.
Despite all her years determining the fates of families,
veteran family court judge Hope Willis couldn’t save her
own. If only she’d turned her head, she would have seen the
car containing her daughter, struggling to get out.
Now she’s frantically grasping at any hope for Krissy’s
rescue. Her husband dead-set against it, she calls Casey
Woods and her team of renegade investigators, Forensic
Instincts. A behaviorist. A techno-wizard. An intuitive. A
former Navy SEAL. Unconventional operatives. All with unique
talents, skills and personal reasons for being part of
Casey’s team, they’ll do whatever it takes.
Able to accurately read people after the briefest of
encounters, Casey leads her team to Krissy’s home. There she
picks up the signs of a nervous spouse, a guilty conscience,
a nanny that hides on her cell. She watches as secrets beg
to creep into the open.
Forensic Instincts will dig through each tiny clue and
eliminate the clutter. But time is running out, and even
working around the clock, the authorities are bound by the
legal system. Not so Casey’s team. For they know that the
difference between bringing Krissy back alive and
disappearing forever could be as small as a suspect’s rapid
breathing, or as deep as Hope’s dark family history.
Westchester County, New York
Summer, thirty-two years ago
When six-year-old Felicity Akerman went to bed that night,
she had no idea that life as she knew it was about to change
She settled under the light cotton blanket and put her head
on the pillow, her long blond hair tied back in a ponytail
because of the heat. She was wearing her favorite
short-sleeve nightshirt with the bright orange soccer balls
on it. She had to wear it tonight. It was like a
gold star on a perfect spelling test. A prize. A big win.
That's what today's game had been. The doctor hadn't been
too sure about letting her play. Neither had her mom and
dad. But she'd talked them into it, and gotten the okay she
was holding her breath for. No one understood how miserable
she'd been, sitting on the sidelines all summer long since
she broke her arm. But it was better now. No more cast. No
more pain. No reason to wait.
She'd proved that today on the playing field at Pine Lake
Soccer Camp. She'd scored three out of her team's four
With a happy smile, she rolled onto her right side,
reflexively protecting the left arm that had been in a cast
for seven long, hateful weeks. Her smile widened as she
remembered she didn't have to do that anymore. She wriggled
her fingers and bent her elbow. Free. She was finally free.
And finally her team leader again.
The bedroom curtains rustled as a warm summer breeze blew in
through the window. Her mom had left it halfway open before
she went out. The summer air felt good. It swirled around
the room. It smelled like flowers. It acted like a lullaby.
Felicity shut her eyes, her fingers still wrapped around a
fold in her nightshirt. Next to her, her sister said
something in her sleep and flopped onto her back. She hated
sleeping alone when their parents were out. Normally
Felicity liked her room to herself— sharing the same face,
same hair, and same birthday with her sister was enough. But
tonight she was so happy that she didn't mind. Besides, they
weren't alone. Deidre was right down the hall, listening to
her cassette player and singing along. Her voice was really
awful. The two girls giggled about that all the time. But
they never said anything to Deidre. She was their
babysitter, and she was very bossy. She was also eighteen
and starting college. That made her practically a grown-up.
And their mom and dad always told them they had to be
respectful of grown-ups.
Even Deidre's bad singing wasn't enough to keep Felicity
awake. Lots of physical activity after lots of sitting
around had really worn her out. She drifted off to sleep.
She didn't see the window slide open the rest of the way.
She didn't see the silhouette of a figure climb inside and
cross silently over to the bed, going straight to her
sister. Nor did Felicity see the intruder force a damp
handkerchief over her face. But she did hear a whimper.
Groggily, Felicity rubbed her eyes and turned over. Still
half asleep, she could vaguely make out a human form dressed
in a long, loose black hooded sweatshirt. The person was
leaning over the other side of the bed. As Felicity watched,
her sister's whimpering stopped, and she went very still.
Felicity's small body went rigid, and her eyes snapped open.
She was suddenly and fully awake. Who was in their house?
But there was no time to find out. The intruder
straightened, and a gloved hand was clamped down over
Felicity's mouth. She started to squirm, fighting with all
she had. The sleeve of the sweatshirt brushed her forehead.
Damp, with a funny smell. Like orange medicine.
The gloved hand lifted, and a wet handkerchief with that
same orange medicine smell was pressed down on Felicity's
nose and mouth. The smell was awful. Felicity wanted to
scream. She couldn't. And she couldn't break free.
The room started spinning. Felicity caught a glimpse of her
sister. It looked like there were two of her. And Deidre's
singing sounded far away.
The stinky smelling handkerchief won.
Everything went black.
What do you think about this review?
2 comments posted.
Re: The suspense is top-notch, and the characters are absolutely compelling.
What a review! All I wanted to do was protect these little girls somehow. This
tells me that the author really knows how to draw the reader right into the
book. You feel like you're right there in the room! OK. I have to get this
book and finish reading it!
(Connie Fischer 2:36pm August 26, 2011)
My kind of book!!!!!!!!!!
(Joanne Bozik 4:04pm August 26, 2011)
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