Synopses & Reviews
Once, Special Agent Smoky Barrett hunted serial killers for the FBI. She was one of the best until a madman terrorized her family, killed her husband and daughter, and left her face scarred and her soul brutalized. Turning the tables on the killer, Smoky shot him dead but her life was shattered forever.
Now Smoky dreams about picking up her weapon again. She dreams about placing the cold steel between her lips and pulling the trigger one last time. Because for a woman who's lost everything, what is there left to lose? She's about to find out. In all her years at the Bureau, Smoky has never encountered anyone like him-a new and fascinating kind of monster, a twisted genius who defies profilers' attempts to understand him. And he's issued Smoky a direct challenge, coaxing her back from the brink with the only thing that could convince her to live.
The killer videotaped his latest crime an act of horror that left a child motherless then sent a message addressed to Agent Smoky Barrett. The message is enough to shock Smoky back to work, back to her FBI team. And that child awakens something in Smoky she thought was gone forever. Suddenly the stakes are raised. The game has changed. For as this deranged monster embarks on an unspeakable spree of perversion and murder, Smoky is coming alive again and she's about to face her greatest fears as a cop, a woman, a mother...and a merciless killer's next victim.
"This disturbing serial killer drama set in California marks a promising debut for McFadyen, who combines many conventions of the genre but with far more exquisite, intricate results than the norm. FBI agent Smoky Barrett, a haunted, complicated woman, leads a team of investigators assigned to a serial killer task force. Barrett, who escaped the clutches of a different serial killer a year earlier but lost her husband and daughter in the attack, is now tracking a madman known as 'Jack Jr.,' who believes he's a descendant of Jack the Ripper. He mauls women, mostly prostitutes with Web sites, then sends the videotapes of the killings to Barrett and her crew. The plot follows a typical arc, complete with some nauseating details and predictable twists. There's also a romance between Barrett and a bodyguard that seems tacked on for future installments. Yet McFadyen's writing is crisp and smart, and his scenes pack a visceral punch without being cheap or exploitative. Barrett, for her part, is a memorable protagonist, a deeply troubled woman trying to move on from tragedy, yet possessing special insight into the criminal mind. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"First-time novelist McFadyen writes like an old pro, acknowledging the conventions of the serial-killer thriller without being slavishly devoted to them....A series to watch." Booklist
"McFadyen doesn't flinch in his graphic descriptions of violence, so this book is definitely not for the squeamish." Library Journal
"Although plenty of nasty action plays out in San Francsico and L.A., the more compelling parts of McFadyen's pursuit center on the net, where capture and survival become a matter of tracking website sign-on names, IPs (Internet protocol numbers) and user IDs." Kirkus Reviews
"Coldly, stunningly brilliant. Move over Thomas Harris, Mcfadyen has brought a new game to town." Lisa Gardner
About the Author
Cody McFadyen lives with his family in California. Shadow Man is his first novel.