I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you purchase the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Title: The Third to Die
Author: Allison Brennan
Series: Mobile Response Team #1
Published by MIRA on February 4, 2020
Genres: Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Format: ARC, eBook
Purchase: Amazon|Barnes & Noble
An edgy female police detective…An ambitious FBI special agent… Together they are at the heart of the ticking-clock investigation for a psychopathic serial killer. The bond they forge in this crucible sets the stage for high-stakes suspense.
Detective Kara Quinn, on leave from the LAPD, is on an early morning jog in her hometown of Liberty Lake when she comes upon the body of a young nurse. The manner of death shows a pattern of highly controlled rage.
Meanwhile in DC, FBI special agent Mathias Costa is staffing his newly minted Mobile Response Team. Word reaches Matt that the Liberty Lake murder fits the profile of the compulsive Triple Killer. It will be the first case for the MRT. This time they have a chance to stop this zealous if elusive killer before he strikes again. But only if they can figure out who he is and where he is hiding before he disappears for another three years. The stakes are higher than ever before, because if they fail, one of their own will be next…
The Third to Die, the first book in The Mobile Response series, is a chilling tale about a smart, meticulous and twisted killer determined to get revenge against the people he believed wronged him. He would match wits with the members of the FBI’s newly formed Mobile Response Team and local law enforcement, who would find themselves in a race against time to capture him before he could execute his next target.
A riveting read which proved difficult to put down. The story started slow and took its time building up to a thrilling end. The story gave nothing away. I followed the evidence along with the team and got my answers the same time they did.
I thought the characters were well developed, and I had a great time getting to know them. I found Kara’s character intriguing. As an undercover cop, she proved an asset to the Mobile Response Team. Her working with the team was due to her discovery of a murder scene while jogging. A discovery that placed her in the middle of the hunt for a serial killer. She has an interesting past, which played a role in molding her strong, intelligent and maverick personality.
At the time of Kara’s discovery, Mathias Costas was selected to head the Mobile Response Team. At this point, he and Kara’s paths will cross. Mathias proved to be a great leader but did not have the patience for inter-agency politics. He and Kara worked well together
I feel that this book is a spinoff of another series. I came to this conclusion based on the limited background information provided regarding Mathias and his behavioral analyst Catherine. There is history there, which was not fully explored in this book.
I loved how the author blended the personal lives of the characters with the solving the case. I mourned and celebrated with them as a result.
Conclusion / Recommendation
The Third to Die highlighted how easy it was for the criminal mind to unravel when plans go awry. This was an enjoyable read and a great start to the series. Fans of mysteries and police procedurals would enjoy this latest offering from Allison Brennan.
READ AN EXCERPT
Wednesday, March 3
Liberty Lake, Washington
Warm blood covered him.
His arms, up to his elbows, were slick with it. His clothing splattered with it. The knife—the blade that had taken his retribution—hung in his gloved hand by his side.
It was good. Very good.
He was almost done.
The killer stared at the blackness in front of him, his mind as silent and dark as the night. The water lapped gently at the banks of the lake. A faint swish swish swish as it rolled up and back, up and back, in the lightest of breezes.
He breathed in cold air; he exhaled steam.
As the sounds and chill penetrated his subconscious, he moved into action. Staying here with the body would be foolish, even in the middle of the night.
He placed the knife carefully on a waist-high boulder, then removed his clothes. Jacket. Sweater. Undershirt. He stuffed them into a plastic bag. Took off his shoes. Socks. Pants. Boxers. Added them to the bag. He stood naked except for his gloves.
He tied the top of the plastic, then picked up the knife again and stabbed the bag multiple times. With strength that belied his lean frame, he threw the knife into the water. He couldn’t see where it fell; he barely heard the plunk.
Then he placed the bag in the lake and pushed it under, holding it beneath the surface to let the frigid water seep in. When the bag was saturated, he pulled it out and spun himself around as if he were throwing a shot put. He let go and the bag flew, hitting the water with a loud splash.
Even if the police found it—which he doubted they would— the water would destroy any evidence. He’d bought the clothes and shoes, even his underwear, at a discount store in another city, at another time. He’d never worn them before tonight.
Though he didn’t want DNA evidence in the system, it didn’t scare him if the police found something. He didn’t have a record. He’d killed before, many times, and not one person had spoken to him. He was smart—smarter than the cops, and certainly smarter than the victims he’d carefully selected.
Still, he must be cautious. Meticulous. Being smart meant that he couldn’t assume anything. What did his old man use to say?
Assume makes an ass out of you and me…
The killer scowled. He wasn’t doing any of this for his old man, though his father would get the retribution he deserved. He was doing this for himself. His own retribution. He was this close to finishing the elaborate plan he’d conceived years ago.
He could scarcely wait until six days from now, March 9, when his revenge would be complete.
He was saving the guiltiest of them for last.
Still, he hoped his old man would be pleased. Hadn’t he done what his father was too weak to do? Righted the many wrongs that had been done to them. How many times had the old man said these people should suffer? How many times had his father told him these people were fools?
Yet his father just let it happen and did nothing about it! Nothing! Because he was weak. He was weak and pathetic and cruel.
Breathe. Focus. All in good time.
All in good time.
The killer took another, smaller plastic bag from his backpack. He removed his wet gloves, put them inside, added a good-sized rock, tied the bag, then threw it into the lake.
Still naked, he shivered in the cold, still air. He wasn’t done.
Do it quick.
He walked into the lake, the water colder than ice. Still, he took several steps forward, his feet sinking into the rough muck at the bottom. When his knees were submersed, he did a shallow dive. His chest scraped a rock, but he was too numb to feel pain. He broke through the surface with a loud scream. He couldn’t breathe; he couldn’t think. His heart pounded in his chest, aching from the icy water.
But he was alive. He was fucking alive!
He went under once more, rubbed his hands briskly over his arms and face in case any blood remained. He would take a hot shower when he returned home, use soap and a towel to remove anything the lake left behind. But for now, this would do.
Twenty seconds in the water was almost too long. He bolted out, coughed, his body shaking so hard he could scarcely think. But he had planned everything well and operated on autopilot.
He pulled a towel from his backpack and dried off as best he could. Stepped into new sweatpants, sweatshirt, and shoes. Pulled on a new pair of gloves. There might be blood on the ATV, but it wasn’t his blood, so he wasn’t concerned.
He took a moment to stare back at the dark, still lake. Then he took one final look at the body splayed faceup. He felt nothing, because she was nothing. Unimportant. Simply a small pawn in a much bigger game. A pawn easily sacrificed.
He hoped his old man would be proud of his work, but he would probably just criticize his son’s process. He’d complain about how he did the job, then open another bottle of booze.
He hoped his father was burning in hell.
He jumped on the ATV and rode into the night.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Netgalley and Edelweiss
- New Release