He Was Taught How To Kill
Even behind bars, serial killer Harvey Day Smith exudes menace. Psychologist Jolene Granger has agreed to hear his dying confession, vowing not to let the monster inside her head. And Harvey has secrets to share—about bodies that were never found, and about the apprentice who is continuing his grisly work…
And Now He’ll Teach Them
He buries his victims alive the way his mentor Harvey did, relishing their final screams as the earth rains down. And as one last gift to the only father he knew, he’ll make the most perfect kill of all.
How To Die
Everything about this investigation is unnerving Jo, from Harvey’s fascination with her to the fact that she’s working alongside Texas Ranger Brody Winchester, her ex-husband. Harvey’s protégé is growing bolder and more vicious every day. And soon the trail of shallow graves will lead them to the last place Jo expected, and to the most terrifying truth of all…
This was a cozy little mystery, lacking in real thrills but still with plenty of curiosity to it. It had moments of being truly horrifying, especially with the scenes depicting the murders, but the rest of the book was very slice-of-life. It almost felt like were following Jo around, getting a peak at her daily life, and oh by the way there just happens to be a few serial killers paying undue attention to her.
Perhaps part of that was the lack of actual investigation and figuring things out in the book. Characters just did stuff until the bad guys made a move, and then they went and looked at the bad guy’s move. And in between finding dead girls, they sat around and talked. In the end, a bit of actual police work did find the bad guy, but it was a fairly isolated instance.
The highlights of the book, for me, were the family drama and the stalking. Those were the points that felt most interesting, especially as we got into the warring personalities in Jo’s family and the way each player felt that they were the wronged party. It was interesting to watch how the two sisters had such similar arguments, even though they were coming from two very different lives. A+ drama. And the sideplot with a stalker, even though it was a completely extraneous, was still more tense for me than the serial killer. The invasiveness of the stalking, the descriptions of how violated and helpless Jo felt, the frustration of knowing that the guy was “technically” staying legal but was still able to cause such an uproar in her life, all that sucked me in. I just wish I’d gotten the same feeling from the serial killer plot, instead of twiddling my thumbs and waiting for Robbie to do something.
The writing in this book needed some spit and polish, however. The sentence structure of “doing this, she did that” got repeated constantly, to the point that every participle made me cringe. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the romance. I did enjoy the set up and potential of it, but it felt like they got 3/4ths of the way to a solution and then had sex and declared everything fixed. The plots that are so tantalizingly close to being good always tick me off more than the ones that miss the mark completely.
3 out of 5