Ten months ago at the Exeter Facility in Virginia, Taye introduced himself to Gillie. He explains he is an experiment of Dr. Rowan like she is and has little memory of his past. He begins seeing her every day promising to get both of them out of their incarceration soon. Gillie worries about Taye’s safety as she knows his visits are dangerous for him as she had no one see her for a dozen years except Rowan.
Finally one month after they met, Taye gets them out of the lab prison into the big world outside. He knows the Foundation will send their best hunters to retrieve them as she is an incredible healer and he controls electricity. They meet Mockingbird when he warns them of a Foundation team’s trap. He wants them working for him, but the pair agrees to trust no one not even their respective hearts.
Though it pays to read the previous three tales (especially the first two) in this super urban fantasy (see Skin Game, Skin Tight and Skin Heat), the final thriller is a great finish to a strong saga. Fast-paced throughout, readers anticipate the confrontation between Dr. Rowan, Mockingbird and the lead couple as Ava Gray wraps up the prime overarching theme with a strong climax. Harriet Klausner
The Second Messiah
Howard/Simon and Schuster,$22.50
In a cave in Qumran near Jerusalem, archaeologist Jack Cane finds a significant Dead Sea scroll that mentions Jesus Christ by name. Jack is almost certain this parchment was written when Jesus walked the earth as it references his travel from Caesarea to Dora where he performed a miracle before being crucified there. Obvious to Jack this man was a false prophet as the two-millennium old document implies there were two messiahs.
Musing over the find he returns from a walk to learn someone murdered the dig director using Jack’s knife; the scroll is missing. Determined to recover the parchment, Jack applies archeological investigative skills. Clues lead first to Syria and then the Vatican where a new charismatic American has been elected Pope. His Holiness plans to open up the archives to let people see the secrets hidden over centuries. While some groups want Jack dead assassinating anyone who assists him on his quest, Israeli police inspector Lela Raul tries to help him recover the scroll. Hidden in the shadows, a puppet master is using them to get the world to know the word of the Second Messiah.
The theme of this interesting thriller is when religion and politics converge; the effect is carnage in the name of the Lord. Jack is a sort of modern day crusader trying to bring the truth out into open; although veracity will shatter Jewish and Christian belief systems. The Pope believes the truth will strengthen the faith of the flock who are divided between radical fundamentalists and agnostics as the Church is left behind. Loaded with action, this fast-paced thriller takes reader on a fascinating journey from the opening discovery to the climatic discovery.
Millie Graff comes home only to find a man inside. This psychopath tortured her for hours before killing her. New York City Police Commissioner Harley Renz takes Frank Quinn of Quinn and Associates to the crime scene. When Quinn sees the victim he becomes irate as he knows her. When Millie was eight she was trapped inside a car about to explode, but Quinn rescued her. Both the Commissioner and Quinn believe a serial killer has just started his gruesome obsession.
After three more murders with the same M.O. the media dubs the serial killer the Skinner because he peels off layers of epidermis from his victims while they are alive. The females have a male’s name written in the bathroom. A good investigation discovers that the names match males who belong to an S&M club that closed years ago. That lead turns into a red herring when Quinn learns the victims testified against the men they thought raped them. DNA proved none were guilty and all were released from prison. The Skinner was accused of rape and intends to kill his accuser; his previous homicides are diabolically planned to hide a tree in the forest. Quinn learns the Skinner works alone except for one murder.
John Lutz provides a strong twisting investigative serial killer starring a brilliant twister predator and a determined hero trying to end the perpetrator’s reign of terror. The villain tosses red herrings at his antagonist (and readers), which adds to the suspense. Fans anticipate a showdown between the evil Skinner who knows right from wrong yet acts as an evil demon who doe not care about collateral damage Quinn who has personalized the chase as an avenging angel. Harriet Klausner