Sunday, May 23, 2010
Fade To Black by Leslie Parrish
Leslie Parrish website
Pub. Date: July 2009
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 368pp
Series: Black Cats Series
Edition Description: Original
From his years in the FBI's violent crimes unit, Special Agent Dean Taggert has learned first hand how vicious people can be. But this is the worst he's ever seen. Eight victims have been murdered, their final moments captured on film and shown on a secret web site called Satan's Playground. And a madman who refers to himself as the Reaper is auctioning off their means of death.
When the investigation leads Dean to the small town of Hope Valley, he enlists the help of sexy and capable Sheriff Stacey Rhodes, who's dealing with secrets of her own. It's too late to save the latest victim, but Dean and Stacey still have to work fast because the Reaper's next auction is about to begin...
At the beginning we see the Reaper plan his first kill and the final moments, right before the victims recognized who he is. But..it too late because Reaper will not be discovered when his victim finally die. Then seventeen months and several death later, his crime was discover from internet. And the CAT aka Cyber Action Team, is called in to help and stop this from happen to the next victims. These group are specialized division of FBI who deal with cyber crimes. One of the team member discover the video footage of the earliest crime and came to Special Agent Dean Taggart for opinion. They later call on their leader, Supervisory Special Agent Wyatt Blackstone who then call on the team to work on finding the Reaper. It was then that Dean decided to use the eight deaths video footage to follow the trail, which lead him to Hope Valley and into sheriff, Stacey Rhodes life.
Stacey have came back home to Hope Valley to get away from the gruesome violent she have deal with everyday. But she didn't expect to find that a crime has come to her town and interrupted her life once again. She also didn't expect to sense a mutual attraction between her and Dean, who seem to distracted her at every turn. So she act on it and had a temporary fling with him, thinking maybe it help her to not think about the crime so much.
Together Dean and Stacey work to find the Reaper before he plan his next kill. But they find it get harder to catch him as the Reaper kept raising the stakes with each crime. And the longer they take in solving the crime, the more quicker the victims will die. Time is running out.
I really like this book. The story grab me from the first chapter until the end. Very interesting of what goes through the Reaper mind as he plan his killing and videotape his victim's final moments. It was interesting that Leslie Parrish gave us several possible suspects and kept me guessing until the end. I did not see that coming and was surprise. The story was suspenseful and kept me turning the pages. The Satan's Playground, while it was fiction, it seem so real that it felt like I can imagine it existence out there somewhere. It made the back of my hair spring up of the though of it. It remind me of a movie I saw once, where the killer kidnap it victims and torture them, while at the same time video taping it live coverage on TV and internet. And the more the viewer watch the more rating boot up and it bring the victims to their death. The only different is that both killer does it for a different reason to their crimes. Also the book is gruesome and galore, intense and thrilling. It is also graphics but not as graphics as the movie was, since we can see it all happen on screen. But I shudder every time I read each scenes from the book.
The heroine, Stacey is a strong person. She not easily scared but get weak because she hate to see violent happen to innocence people. She sympathy and comfort them when she know they need it, even to the one that is weird but lonely. She not a TSTL type of heroine and does not whine to get what she want. I really like Stacey enough to root for her and her HEA.
Dean is work-holic, who had a son and ex-wife. He thought about his life and what went wrong in his marriage while he work everyday. It obvious he love his son and always try to be there for him, even when he is call off to work. Stacey bring out the good in him, and I love it when everytime he see her his heart start beating. It really cute.
I really enjoy the book. Because it kept me in suspense and turning the page to figure out who dunnit. And by the end, I was surprise when the reaper was finally reveal. And it wasn't who I expected it to be. The book is dark, gritty and intense. And I also like all the characters whose were team together and help the CAT crimes. You will see more on some of the people in the next installments books.
I have heard alot about Leslie Kelly books but have not yet read her. I was surprise to discover she is the same author who wrote under Leslie Parrish, which I really like. If I'm correct, Kelly are more lighter/contemporary romance while the Parrish are more romance suspense/gritter. I'm definate will read the other CAT series :)
I started reading the book on Feb 2010 but delay posting the review after drafting it on April. Then re-drafted/re-edited in May. I took such a long time posting it, that I hope I remember the book. Usually I draft and post the reviews right after I finish the book but there have been books I want to jump in right away, that I just couldn't wait! If this review seem to not make any senses, blame it on my lack of sleep and busy weeks ;)
Grade: 5 stars
read: Feb 2010