Publication date: October 11th 2016
My rating: 4.5 stars
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Dr. Iris Ballard’s glory days are behind her, so when Luke Hudson, her former FBI partner and onetime lover, asks for help constructing a psychological profile of an elusive serial killer who murders single mothers and dumps their bodies in the woods, Iris turns him away. She just wants to be left alone with her infomercials, her German Shepherd, and her vodka. That is, until she gets a peek at the case files.
The media has dubbed him “the Woodsman.” But after Iris learns the sickening details held back from the press, and as she sets foot onto the scene of his latest crime, she assembles a portrait of a more complicated, enigmatic, meticulous man. Control is his motivation. He thrives on it. Soon he even tries to manipulate the investigation by contacting Iris, hoping to rattle the woman he considers an intellectual equal.
The game is on. Iris thinks she has a read on her target, enough to push his buttons, to make him lose control. But when the Woodsman gains the upper hand, Iris faces the most painful reckoning of all—with her own violent past.
I’ve always been drawn to crime drama/mysteries, piecing together the evidence, outsmarting a killer, finding out what makes them tick. But what made this story were Iris, a troubled ex-FBI profiler and her past partner, Luke who still works for the Bureau. Their history and relationship was just as interesting as catching the killer to me. The two reunite to track down The Woodsman, a sicko who abducts, rapes, and tortures his female victims until he finishes them off by strangulation. It was ugly and brutal! There is a fight against the clock to find and stop this murderer before he abducts his next victim, and I felt Iris and Luke’s urgency and desperation as they hunt him. Iris’ involvement in the case catches the attention of this horrible man, and I was very worried for her safety!
At first Iris is a self-destructive mess , something that frustrates me to no end, even if she did have plenty of good reasons to be a mess, I just find it hard to witness that kind of behavior. Thankfully, investigating The Woodsman snapped her right out of that. Being with Luke again, even though they pushed each other’s buttons a lot, seemed to help her get back into the land of the living, too. I was fascinated by Iris’ ability to nail down so many things about the killer just by examining the evidence. Some of her instincts seemed uncanny, which is why she’s pulled into this world all over again.
Luke and Iris must sort through their feelings for each other, in the midst of this pressure cooker! Even though they’ve been apart for a couple of years, being together again makes it seem like they never parted. They spent so many hours together as partners in the past, knew each better than anyone else, and now they contend with the old feelings that led to a night of passion neither can forget. Lust and attraction spark between these two and I just wanted more! I was pleased with how it ended, but I’m eager for the next installment to see how it all works out!
Beautiful Maids All in a Row was an exciting thriller guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, and hoping this monster is caught or *better yet* dead by the end of this roller coaster ride! I can’t wait for the next book!
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