Mira, Jul 2008, $6.99
In a Sacramento mall, Jasmine “Jaz” Stratford opens a package and almost faints in shock when she sees what is inside it, the bracelet. She thinks back to sixteen years ago to Cleveland when she was twelve and made the bracelet as a birthday present to her eight years old sister Kimberly before the bearded tall man too her away. Kimberly was never found and her case went cold. Now the package postmarked from New Orleans also contains a strange note written in blood: “STOP ME”.
Jaz heads to New Orleans where she meets Romain Fornier, who four years ago killed the murderer of his then ten years old daughter. However Jaz believes, Romain did not kill his child’s murderer and that same person who kidnapped Kimberly years ago is still free, taunting and taking children. Although he doubts her theory that the monster lives Romain joins Jaz as they search to stop a serial pedophile killer.
The second Last Stand tale (see TRUST ME) is a dark thriller that keeps the romantic subplot for the most part in the background. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the package is opened and never slows down as Jaz and Romain work one clue at a time. The epilogue is perfect as it wraps up with the right touch to a grim realism. Readers will appreciate this deep dark tale in which love and a bit of jocularity are the only tiny spots of light in a gloomy environs.