This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Jane Blythe. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.One by Jane Blythe
Series: Count to Ten #1
Also in this series:Two, Three, Four
Also by this author: Two, Three, Charity's Wrath, Four, Mackenzie's Trust
Genres: Crime, Mystery
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Publisher: Bear Spots Publications
Source: Author, Jane Blythe
Purchase at: Amazon
Annabelle Englewood slaughters her family while they sleep.
Or so it seems to Detective Xavier Montague when he and his partner arrive at her house to find her sleeping peacefully, her family all dead.
But then another family and another are murdered, again with one family member left alive, and it becomes clear that Annabelle is simply a pawn in a vicious killer’s game.
Intrigued by Annabelle, the first woman Xavier has been attracted to since his divorce, when he comes face to face with the killer he will be forced to make the ultimate choice, a life and death decision, that could let a psychotic murderer walk free.
***This review comes with a warning: There are some graphic quotes from the novel and the faint at heart or squeamish may want to skip this review***
Sick, twisted, and fantastically horrific with a splash of romance! This is a psychological thriller full of suspense, horror and red herrings that will keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat! From the moment I started reading I was just sucked in! I knew that I loved this book during the beginning when I thought that I was reading from the point of view of a killer when it was actually Detective Xavier Montague, ha ha ha, once it is made plain who the character was you see the entire scene in a different light! My feeling was one of “Oh, you! You got me on that one.” I just loved it!! Now let’s get to the good stuff.
“Deep gashes crossed their necks, nearly separating their heads from their bodies. Blood drenched the sheets and puddled around the bed. There were black holes where their eyes used to be. Inside their gaping mouths, they were missing most of their tongues. Their hands had been removed and were now resting on top of their owners’ stomachs, each cradling an eyeball, the tongues resting in between each pair.”
Well now, is that not a fantastic example of horror? It is a very detailed description that clearly shows me that the killer is unhinged but that there is a message in the madness, albeit a cryptic message. I love that! This is not a random killing. It is a well thought out slaying that is intended to be viewed. A killer’s calling card. Then I spend my time thinking about the message and what it could represent. Chilling!
“Bringing the tip of the blade to his arm, without a second’s hesitation, he made a light split in the skin. Watching with great awe as a trickle of blood oozed out, the fingers of his other hand dipping into it. Lifting his hand, he was enthralled once more by the beautiful sight of the blood that clung there.”
I love it when we get the point of view from the main villain. I want to know what they are thinking, what is motivating them. I was not disappointed in the least. This killer is a great character! Without giving away too much that I was able to figure out who the killer was, I was still able to watch as he descended further into his newly acquired enthrallments.
“Before he even registered what he was doing, he had stripped off all his clothes and was scooping up handfuls of blood, rubbing it all over himself until he was pretty much covered from head to toe. Dancing and springing across the carpet, he ripped open the curtains so the moonlight streamed through, illuminating him and the glorious blood.”
The lead detectives on this case are playing a case of catch-up as they try and figure out the motivation for the murders. As each murder occurs it is obvious that although there is a message being conveyed the killer is escalating and getting a perverse pleasure out of it. Detective Xavier Montague and his partner Kate Hannah are both nicely developed characters. Kate has a main role but is deferential to Xavier and is mostly there in a supporting role to him. The common sense in the face of madness. Xavier is the lead detective and is also the focus of the romance angle with Annabelle Englewood. Yes, there is a romance angle but it is not my favorite part of the story. Xavier has developed an attachment to Annabelle almost immediately and it is an intense focus that has him making all kinds of bad choices.
Annabelle is a main character in this story and although she considers herself weak and worthless she can go the distance and plays a pivotal role in this mystery. Her backstory is just wonderful. Honestly all the characters are well developed with great backstories. The romance angle from her perspective was not insta-love and that is nice.
Maybe you can tell that the romance angle was not my favorite part. I feel like a romance can be found in a thriller but for me Xavier’s character was so focused that it felt like he bordered on obsessive and unhealthy. It is all explained nicely and is not beyond the realm of reason but it just didn’t give me warm fuzzies in my heart. There are some points in the backstories of the characters that were not explained to my satisfaction or really necessary details for the story at hand. I would explain it more but that would also end up being a spoiler and we can’t have that. There is also a couple of characters that are developed but then they go off stage and we never hear from them again. What ever happened to them is my question? I did love everything else!
The ending was not “satisfying” but ended perfectly for a book that is going to be carried into a series. Seriously made me want to double check my door locks! Really well done and I enjoyed reading this immensely. I highly recommend you check it out.
*Thank you to Author Jane Blythe for this complimentary copy of One*