“A Thriller Award nominee for Best eBook Original Novel... Book 1 in award-winning author Alexandra Sokoloff's riveting new Huntress FBI series about a driven FBI agent on the hunt for that most rare of all killers: a female serial.
FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can’t believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of “accidents” and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.
Roarke’s hunt for her takes him across three states...while in a small coastal town, a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach and strike up an unlikely friendship without realizing how deadly she may be.
As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.”
*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
I’ve been thinking about how I would rate this book since the midway point, and I’m left feeling conflicted. Was it well-written? Sure. Did it grab my attention early on? Yes. But it lost my attention at several points, too. Initially, I was drawn to the character “she,” the female killer with the mysterious past. It’s obvious “she” has endured some kind of tragedy because the clothes she’s wearing are designed to mask a scar. Who hurt her? Why? And why is she hurting others now?
To call her a female serial is misleading. I’m a horror fiction gal, and serials to me imply thrill killers. What “she” is isn’t exactly that.
Roarke, the alternate viewpoint, investigates the related cases with the drive of someone obsessed. He has a soft spot for this woman, though I don’t buy into the motivation. You’d have to read the book to decide for yourself, but the ages at which things happen seem unlikely on his part.
Often clinical in it descriptions, Huntress Moon didn’t grab me the way I expected a serial killer novel to. The motivations, profiling, etc. were well-researched, thorough, but jarring. I felt like I was in a class on killers at several points.
It is only the female character I connected with, though her “talking wind” and the few lapses where she is “childlike” were out of place with her overall reason for killing. The child connection was explained, but nothing about the woman seemed to fit the explanation otherwise. She might have been a more multi-dimensional interesting character had that played out differently, though it would have affected her as the love interest of a man who quickly brings her into his home. A divorcee with a young son who instantly attaches to her, this man is instantly smitten. Had she behaved in an obvious developmentally stunted way, I don’t think this would have happened. “She” is portrayed as the femme fatale.
When the motivation behind the killings is revealed, the happenstance romance between “her” and Sebastian seems contrived, if not forced. Convenient that the boy who finds “her” on the beach is, himself, in some kind of trouble.
Huntress Moon is logical in its plotting, but veers from the killer’s motivation when it’s convenient. What ultimately happens to Jason’s mother seems out of line with “her” motivations. *SPOILER ALERT* I wouldn’t believe supervised visitation was an appropriate punishment for a drug-addicted would-be supporter of questionable soft core child porn (at least, intended or hinted at). The characters had variable appeal for me, but I knew who they were so kudos on characterization. Pacing was also uneven, making the urge to skim read high after the mid-point. There’s a lot of time spent on kills like “The Preacherman’s” when it felt like that wasn’t really the story. Yes, Roarke needed to understand how the murders connected to this woman, but the fallen fellow FBI agent got much less page time by comparison. Odd, given that his death served as a catalyst. I loved “her” backstory and I hope that as the series unfolds these seemingly random vengeance killings ties together to mean something to “her” past. I want for this to be an instance of long plotting. In that case, I’ll probably eat my words about the importance of one killing over another. Having only read the first in the series, I can only go on what I’ve read so far.
For me, this book was a mixed bag. I enjoyed parts of it, and am curious how the series plays out. I have Blood Moon on my Kindle and will check it out after a palate cleanser. Three and a half stars because I’m curious what “she” will do next.
Total sidebar, but editing wasn't as solid as I'd have expected from T&M. The version of this novel I received was what NetGalley provided, but there were minor errors as follows (not all-inclusive, but the things I felt were absolute):
12% typo "Surer *that* he ever had been about anything ..." (I'm thinking the author meant surer than)
16% missing word "That boy who said that was drunk" (Something's wrong here? Missing a "he"?)
28% wrong word "Faster that he could ever think possible" (Faster than)
43% extra word "Roarke drove through the winding road through the green hills ..." (through appears twice)
General note: the treatment of written ages seem out of line with conventions. The use of hyphens is inconsistent.