It begins with a chilling phone call to Casey Woods. And ends with another girl dead.
College-age girls with long red hair. Brutally murdered, they’re posed like victims in a film noir. Each crime scene is eerily similar to the twisted fantasy of a serial offender now serving thirty years to life-a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts.
Call. Kill. Repeat. But the similarities are more than one psychopath’s desire to outdo another. As more red-headed victims are added to the body count, it becomes clear that each one has been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey-a connection that grows closer and closer to her.
Now the Forensic Instincts team must race to uncover the identity of a serial killer before his ever-tightening circle of death closes in on Casey as the ultimate target. As the stalker methodically moves in on his prey, his actions make one thing clear: he knows everything about Casey. And Casey realizes that this psychopathic won’t stop until he makes sure she’s dead.
The Stranger You Know is the third book in Andrea Kane’s Forensic Instincts series. These books follow a small firm of private investigators. All of them seem to come from some prior law enforcement, military, and or government type backgrounds but are now working in the private sector. I have not read the previous two books in this series and thankfully there really isn’t a need to. I didn’t feel lost at all because there was enough recap spread throughout the first part of the book to catch me up sufficiently on whatever details I might have needed.
Casey and her team are working to find the daughter of a dying man from a very old unsolved missing persons case. When they take on this case it hits close to home for Casey because when she was in college a close friend of her disappeared in much the same manner. Then during the course of their investigation young college girls matching Casey’s physical description start turning up raped and murdered. The killer makes it a point to call Casey, taunting her that she is his ultimate target.
So it’s all hands on desk to try and protect Casey while everyone still works to solve the cold case, and find the killer of this recent string of murders. The crimes of a convicted killer that Casey help put behind bars are coming back to haunt her as they realize he has a direct tie to these current murders. No doubt thriller/mystery fans will see some of the twists and turns coming with the ample clues Kane gives but I come to think of that as expected with these types of thrillers.
There were some interesting characters here, Claire and Casey being the ones that stood out to me the most. There is a romantic element for these two ladies with Hutch (an FBI profiler) and Ryan another member of the Forensic Instincts team. Ryan and Claire were my favorite of these two “couples” since they were more like the opposite of a couple…or a couple that didn’t want to admit that’s what they were. It added a bit of zest and I appreciated the occasional distraction from the young girls bodies who were brutally raped and murdered piling up. I loved the fact that a psychic was included, AND taken seriously as part of the Forensic Instincts team. I normally lean heavily towards the fantasy and paranormal books so Claire being psychic really gave me that element I needed to enjoy The Stranger You Know all the more.
One point that I wanted to bring up because I’ve read several books lately that dealt with the topic of rape. It seems to me that frequently rape is something that is quickly foisted upon secondary or disposable characters but rarely do I see this tragedy befall a main character. Now why is that? Granted, it would be a chancey thing to do to your character, but if the lead character is kept safe from this then does that not take away a small part of realism from the story? Just a thought that I had while reading a few recent titles.
Overall, The Stranger You Know was an enjoyable fast paced thriller that can be read as a stand alone novel.
Be sure to read Andrea Kane’s guest post – Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer