Thursday, August 30, 2007

Strip Search-William Bernhardt

Strip Search
William Bernhardt
Ballantine, Aug 28 2007, $25.95
ISBN: 9780345470195

In Las Vegas, a serial killer leaves behind torn off body parts and mathematical formulas written with the victim’s blood. LVPD is stymied so police chief Robert O'Bannon knows who he needs to assist lead homicide detective Barry Granger over the objection of the lieutenant an his own concern that she is the lesser of two evils. He rehires former police profiler behaviorist Susan Pulaski, who he once fired, to uncover the identity of this maniac.

Robert warns Susan not to alienate Barry, but she knows that is impossible as he hates her. He also tells her to keep his autistic son Darcy out of the investigation as he has not forgiven her for using him in the past (see DARK EYE). Susan believes Darcy who is a numerical patterns savant can interpret the bloody messages left behind at each grisly crime scene. With Darcy on Susan’s side and Granger not, the psychopath continues his numerical rampage.

This exhilarating but dark and vividly violent (don’t eat just before reading this novel) police procedural sequel hooks the audience with the first coded formula and never slows down even with extended cul de sac sidebars vaguely related to the prime serial killer plot. The story line flows with blood as the killer keeps rolling sevens while Granger and Pulaski shoot snake-eyes at each other. The climax will prove to be one of the year’s best as advanced mathematical concepts have rarely been more fun to follow.

Harriet Klausner