Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: Pitch Black by Leslie Parrish

Title: Pitch Black
Series: Black CATs
Author: Leslie Parrish
Read copy: eBook
Published: August 4, 2009
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
ISBN: 1101106700
ISBN-13: 9781101106709

Former profiler Alec Lambert would give anything to catch The Professor, a serial killer who lures his victims with Internet scams. Now working with reclusive scam expert Samantha Dalton, he finally has his chance. But as they draw ever closer to discovering The Professor's identity and stopping his murderous rampage, they realize Sam is the psychotic killer's new obsession—and possibly his next target...

My rating:

Alec Lambert had gotten too close to a witness a few months back. A serious lapse in judgment that had cost Alec a stint in the hospital, his girlfriend, and his dog (taken by the said girlfriend), not to mention the life of a fellow FBI agent...And now, even Alec's certain promotion to Supervising Special Agent in his BAU unit.
Actually he's been brought down a heap of notches, stuck in the new CAT unit lead by Wyatt Blackstone. A unit investigating Internet-related murders. Knowing the Black CATs reputation, Alec isn't very pleased, but at least he's still an FBI agent, isn't he?

His appreciation of his new team, his new position, and his new boss's cunning comes the first day of Alec's new position. A serial killer, the Professor, the BAU has been after for years, has switched on-line, luring his victims using different Internet scams.

Just hours before his untimely demise, the Professor's latest victim had been in contact with a woman who's made her life calling to warn Internet users of such scams, Samantha Dalton a.k.a. Sam the Spaminator.

Alec and his new partner immediately head onto Ms. Dalton's doorstep, unwittingly pulling the woman into the dangerous cat-and-mouse game that is about to get even more perilous and deadly.


This is the second book in the Black CATs trilogy by the talented Leslie Parrish, and if it's at all possible, even better than the first book, Fade to Black.

The plot was as good as the first book, with all its intricacies and different POV, but the pacing (while dragging a little at the beginning of the first book) has definitely improved, remaining consistent throughout the story.

Ms. Parrish has introduced another Blackstone's CAT member to the mix, someone mentioned only in passing in the first installment, but that proved to be an invaluable addition to the mixed team. I adored Alec, with all his little contradictions (the hardened FBI agents don't appear too hardened after all when the right person is involved ;)), that twinkle in his eye, and the protective streak a mile wide.

I had some problems with Sam Dalton at the beginning, the woman was a real mess. I've never been divorced myself, so I wouldn't know how it felt, but after a year you'd think she'd have moved on. Well, she did in the course of this story and I ended up loving her just as much as every other "misfit" in Wyatt's CAT group.

The suspense was even more gripping, firmly crossing the threshold into thriller territory, IMHO. The serial killer was utterly twisted without having gone into stalker territory, but a stalker-ish serial killer...Talk about creepy. And yet again, his identity was once again a huge surprise, a nice respite from some other RS books when the villain's identity is so transparent it almost makes you cry.

Yeah, I definitely loved this book. The plot was nice and twisty, the pacing great, the characters, though some already familiar, still interesting, their dynamic has apparently grown even more from Fade to Black, the villain was a complete wacko and a complete surprise, the suspense chilling, thrilling, and unrelenting, the familiarity of the Internet world and its scams (and the dread that something like this might happen in real life, we've all received a similar message in our inbox), and that extra touch of romance (a bit hotter this time, maybe?) combined in a perfect mix.

The only real problem I've encountered in this book was the CAT IT specialist Lily Fletcher. I knew from the start of Fade to Black that she would be a real wild-card, despite her emotional side or because of it, and kept hoping she'd finally see reason. She didn't, (almost) destroying the most important factor in the dynamic of the entire team - trust. What happened to her wasn't "nice", but it wasn't unexpected either...But now, having read the blurb for Black at Heart, the final installment in this amazing trilogy, that completely confirmed my suspicion about the shy IT and the big boss (*wink wink*), I'm really looking forward to reading the last book and see what Ms. Parish would come up with.
I can't wait!!!



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