Emma Lewis and Travis Bell are both teenagers who have had survived encounters with serial killers.
They are therefore recruited by the FBI to interview a convicted teenaged serial killer in order to gain some clues about an ongoing investigation into another serial killer, who is targeting teenagers.
The jailed killer, Simon Gutmunsson, is a sophisticated and charming genius who develops a rapport with Emma and throws her tantalising cryptic clues that may provide some insights into the mind of the killer.
Or maybe he’s a clever psychopath playing her in order to gain changes in his incarceration which may offer him a way to escape.
As I started reading, I was wary of this story, as the set up sounded very close to The Silence of the Lambs.
There were other similarities – just as Lechter taunted Clarisse about being motivated by her failure to save the lambs, so does Gutmunsson taunt Emma about her failure to have rescued the other two girls who had been held hostage with her some years earlier.
And that no matter how successful she may be, she would always bear the load of her guilt.
Thankfully, the storylines diverged enough to save the book from being hurled across the room. I liked that even though Emma was working with Travis, she was the stronger character who made important decisions and kept her nerve. I liked that – unusually for a YA story – there was zero hint of a romance. I was also grateful that it lacked the shocking and bloodthirsty climax of Harris’s novel. However, it was not lacking in gory details, so those who enjoy a thriller will not be disappointed.
Overall, it was very well written, fast paced and had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. Despite the publisher recommending this for readers aged 14 – 18 years, I would suggest caution for the younger end of this range, due to its graphic description of murders.
Author: Ellie Marney
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, $19.99
Publication Date: September 2020
For ages: 14 – 18
Type: Young Adult Fiction