HOURS, MINUTES AND SECONDS
Nine years ago, a serial killer, dubbed The Groom, tortured and murdered four women in fifteen days. The naked bodies were found publically posed on a white sheet. Each body possessed multiple burns caused by both heat and cold, multiple puncture wounds caused by round objects, multiple bruises caused by inanimate objects and multiple lacerations caused by very sharp blades. Not a one had been raped.
And while he was called “The Groom” because he placed a silver ring on the left hand, that was only part of the killer’s signature. Another part was that all the women were brunette, fitly built and between the ages of 28 and 33. Never released to the public, however, was the fact that the killer carved into each torso, post-mortem, the exact number of hours, minutes and seconds that had elapsed from the first mark to the final heartbeat.
Now, in March 2060, The Groom has returned, placing on display the tortured and carved body of the female manager of one of Roarke’s more popular clubs. The body has been bathed and anointed in high-end products exclusive to a subsidiary of Roarke Enterprises. And the sheet on which the body is posed is expensive Irish linen, again exclusive to Roarke’s company. Then, within hours of discovering that body, another female Roarke Enterprises employee is reported missing. It appears that The Groom is targeting Roarke by proxy.
In charge of a task force dedicated to the capture of the killer, Eve Dallas and her team soon discover that at least 20 bodies with the same signature have been found worldwide over the past 9 years. However, none of those victims, or any of the four previously found in NYC, relate to Roarke in even the slightest way. It appears that, in this spree, Roarke is only a pawn, a connector to the killer’s end game – Eve. Just as the Biblical Eve was God’s last creation in life, Eve Dallas is meant to be the killer’s most important, most challenging, most exquisite – and his last – creation in death.
Pawn or not, Roarke is involved in this investigation from call-out to heart-pounding conclusion, a situation that Robb has not duplicated since the first novel of the series. As a full-time member of the task force assigned to the investigation, Roarke finally gets to observe Eve in every aspect of her job. He sees her functioning as the primary investigator into the murders, as the departmental head of a team of detectives working a myriad of homicides, as a drone gnawing on the bones of every lead, as a leader of a multi-divisional task force – and as bait for the killer.
Roarke learns what a day in the zoo that is Cop Central really consists of as opposed to his comfortable and secluded home office where he usually does his research. And he re-learns what it means to be absolutely and totally mentally whipped and bone-weary at the end of a day, as he must, in addition to his task force assignments, still command Roarke Enterprises.
Although this is the 25th entry in the series, Robb still finds a way to keep it exciting and not be a cookie-cutter version of previous books. Subtly changing both the personal and professional dynamics of several main and secondary characters, Robb makes this entry an original. And those subtle changes set the stage for the next book.
Cover Art From Goodreads