The man bent over. 'Shhhh,' he whispered in her ear. 'You don't want to wake up just yet...'
As the summer temperature in Atlanta soars, the residents have more to fear than just heat exhaustion. For the last three years when the summer temperature creeps up to a hundred, a vicious killer has emerged and taken two young girls.
When the body of the first girl is found, it contains clues to lead detectives to the second victim. If the second girl is discovered quickly enough, then there is a chance she will be found alive. However the clock is ticking...
The killer seems to be playing a game and each time he is raising the stakes as he waits for the FBI's finest to come out to play.
From the first page I quickly became absorbed in this gripping thriller. I have not read any novels by this author previously, although reading good reviews about her was what prompted me to check out one of her books. I am pleased I did after reading The Killing Hour.
We are introduced to Kimberley Quincy, a rookie FBI agent who is training at the academy. Kimberley knows what it is like to lose someone and has been face to face with a killer herself when her mother and sister were murdered by someone she thought they could trust.
Kimberley is trying to follow her father's footsteps, as he once was a successful FBI profiler who now works independently alongside his partner Rainie, who is also his partner in his personal life.
The problem with Kimberley, is following the death of her mother and sister she prefers to be an island. She feels she does not need anyone and prefers to be by herself, striving to become a successful FBI agent by pushing herself to the limit both physically and mentally during her training. She believes that is what is required and all that is needed, ignoring her supervisor's concerns that she has made no friends or integrated well with her colleagues during her time at the academy. When concerns are raised, Kimberley refuses to acknowledge them and cannot see that her future role is about teamwork and that she needs to integrate and mix more with others.
I found myself disliking Kimberley initially. Her headstrong arrogance was more than a little annoying, even though I had sympathy for her character for what she had been through. However, I think the author developed her character well throughout the book and we slowly see cracks appearing in the wall Kimberley has built around herself as the story unfolds. Reading on through the book, I came to like her character as we begin to see the real Kimberley and her vulnerable side slowly comes through.
When Kimberley stumbles across the body of one of the dead girls in the grounds of the academy, she is instantly reminded of her dead sister and despite being told after her discovery that she has no part to play in the hunt for the killer apart from giving a statement, Kimberley thinks otherwise and circumstances lead to her teaming up with Special Agent 'Mac' McCormack to hunt down the killer after applying for leave from the academy claimimg 'emotional distress' following her discovery of the girl's body.
Breaking all the rules, Kimberley risks her future career by disobeying orders to leave the investigation alone and is determined to carry on. Her father, a man who is still held in high regard by the FBI, is brought in as an independent body to work on the case also and whilst it was nice to see Kimberley and her father eventually begin to find each other again, I thought it somewhat unrealisitic how they came to 'work' together.
Although overall I did find some aspects of the story unbelievable and a little absurd even, it was nonetheless a gripping read from start to finish and I simply enjoyed it for being just that.
The plot becomes a race against time to find one of the victims alive and although I was correct with some of my predictions, there are one or two twists along the way which ensured that the reader cannot predict exactly how it will end, which is just how I like a good thriller to be.
We get little glimpses of the killer during the book. Dubbed the 'eco-killer' because of notes sent to the newspapers saying 'Clock ticking...planet dying...animals weeping...rivers screaming. Can't you hear it? Heat kills...' it is hard to decipher whether this is a man who believes he is on some sort of weird and deluded planet saving mission or just a vicious and deranged killer. I was quite surprised by the eventual conclusion.
The relationship between Kimberley and Mac has all been done before and this was the most predictable part of the book. The chemistry and attraction between the couple is evident from their first meeting, although Kimberley is determined to fight against any possible attraction she has to Mac's good looks and flirty personality, you just know sooner or later that something is bound to happen between them. Fortunately not much time is spent on their inevitable relationship.
Written in the third person, the writing style is always interesting and whilst there is attention to detail regarding the various 'ologists' used to analyse rocks, leaves, water etc, it was never overly complicated. Everything was explained as simply and briefly as possible giving the reader just the right amount of information needed without ever becoming boring or heavy going. I found this book an easy read and just the right length at 435 pages. It was quite hard to put it down after the first couple of chapters and it didn't take me very long to finish reading it.
If you enjoy a good thriller with a twist or two, then I can recommend this book. Despite it having one or two cliches and the plot becoming a little far fetched at times, it is still an engaging read that you can easily lose yourself in for a few hours. I will definitely be checking out more of this author's work.
In case of you who've never heard of Lisa Gardner, She has written many Thriller's including ' The Survivors club' and ' The Next Accident'!
'Gone' by Lisa Gardner was released in February 2006 and can be found on Amazon for £5.
This story follows the chilling case of the aptly named 'Eco killer' because of the riddling message he keeps sending out to the police, "Clock ticking ... planet dying.... animals weeping... rivers screaming... can't you hear it? Heat kills ...."
The eco killer started off his killings back in the blazing Georgian summer of 2000. In each case two young women are taken, one of the bodies is left by the roadside with clues to help find the other victim, who he gives a sporting chance to survive by giving her a jug of water. Each time the police are too late and the other victim dies. When one victim survives the killer disappears and we fast forward 3 years to Virginia where the killings start again.
I found this book definitely has a theme that everyone can relate to. Every person has the power to save themselves, but they must believe this in order to push themselves and succeed.
This theme can be clearly linked to Kimberley, a newly recruited FBI agent who not too long ago witnessed the murders of her mother and sister. When she joins the investigation after stumbling across a body at her training ground, she learns quickly that unless she too wants to become a victim, she must gather all of her strength and resources in order to catch the killer.
Lisa Gardner does an excellent job at making all of the characters seem so real and believable and this for me made the book a very enjoyable read.
To add a bit of light relief to this chiller, a pinch of romance was added between Kimberly and one of the agents who failed to solve the Georgia Murders. This was very well written in my opinion, beautifully done, with no graphic sex scenes that we tend to find in many books! I found Kimberly's character needed this romance in order to break down her defense and make her a better person!
The book wasn't a heavy read as I expected, as the chapters were broken up nicely and you keep being drawn back to the latest victim and her bid for survival.
Another thing I enjoyed about Gardner's style of writing was it's clarity, I found the story easy to take in and also the free flow of it meant that I never got confused as to what was going on.
One of the best bits of the book, be it simple, was the fact that headed up on each chapter is the current location of the action, as well as the time, and more importantly in this story the temperature.
This really brought home to me the added emergency of the next victim being discovered before she to met her end.
Having this embedded in my mind made the situation feel eerily all to real, and I was so in grossed in the book as if I could see it all vividly playing out in my mind, and I was desperate to keep on reading to learn the young women's fate each time.
The enjoyable thing about this story is, it really isn't obvious who the killer is and you are kept guessing right up until the very end. There is nothing worse for me when after a few chapters you know exactly who the killer is, and how the story is going to pan out.
To sum it up, I would highly recommend this book to fans of spine chilling thrillers, with enough twists and turns in the story to keep you interested right through to the end!
Having never read any of her previous books, the style and disturbing reality of this one has got me highly interested in purchasing the rest of her books.
Hard back 324 pages
Retails for £2 at Amazon
A cold case grows hot again in Gardner's sixth high-octane page-turner, a romantic thriller that features rookie FBI agent Kimberly Quincy. Kimberly is the daughter of Pierce Quincy, former FBI profiler turned PI, last seen in The Next Accident. She's a tough, troubled young woman still recovering from the murders of her mother and sister six years earlier. During week nine of the FBI Academy's 16-week training program in Virginia, she discovers the body of a young woman who looks like her late sister. Since the corpse has been dumped on a secured Marine base, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service is in charge, but determined Kimberly soon takes a leave of absence so she can team up with Michael Mac McCormack, visiting Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent, along with her father and his partner, Rainie Connor, to prevent another death. Mac receives taunting mail and cell phone messages (planet dying... animals weeping... rivers screaming... can't you hear it? Heat kills) that lead him to suspect a serial eco-killer who last struck in Georgia three years earlier, leaving seven dead women and one survivor. Sparks fly between Kimberly and Mac as they rush to rescue the eco-killer's latest victim, Tina Krahn. Gardner offers riveting glimpses of Tina's struggle to survive in an environmentally hazardous locale. With tight plotting, an ear for forensic detail and a dash of romance, this is a truly satisfying sizzler in the tradition of Tess Gerritsen and Tami Hoag.