Ciaran Richards’ father was a soldier. A hero.
But now he’s dead. Or is he?
The tombstone reads “Richard Carter.” It has a fine Latin inscription and a death date. Unlike his wife Jill, he finds it easy to dismiss as a prank. He’s more concerned with the “Jane Doe” who turns up asphyxiated and shockingly posed. It is the unmistakable signature of a sexual predator, a monster deep into his fantasy, a man probably already seeking his next victim. An FBI friend tells Richard that the Bureau is tracking a coast-to-coast serial killer with an identical MO and signature, a killer who leaves immaculate crime scenes that tell investigators only what the killer wants them to know: how clever he is. How can Richard find the invisible? Is the local killer the FBI’s “Journey Man,” or only a copycat? Does it matter? He needs a pattern, a clue, but all he has is a woman who might have been a victim. His wife Jill’s past, combined with what is happening, breathes new life into the smoldering coals of her emotional distress. When the killer strikes closer to home, she hurtles toward an abyss. Jill is nothing if not strong, but is she strong enough to bear this alone? Or will she become “collateral damage” of the Journey Man’s rampage through Hawthorn County?
Very few writers in the thriller genre deliver fully on intrigue and suspense but Journey Man exceeds expectations on both counts and more. Some writers aim for carefully calibrated alterations on bestselling formulas but offer few surprise along the way and again Simmons bucks the trend. Yes, there are many things to praise with Journey Man but first and foremost it’s an exercise in reader manipulation. Simmons knows exactly what he’s doing. Far too many thrillers are simply smoke and mirrors but here he pays homage to the seductiveness of the genre. There are exciting narrative twists but instead of dressing them up he strips them down to their essentials, giving us just enough information to keep us frustrated and on edge as his plot continues to evolve. In this way, he is relentless in maintaining suspense, but what ultimately distinguishes Journey Man and in doing so sets it apart from rank-and-file thrillers, is its unnerving solemnity and attention to characterisation. Simmons doesn’t give us stock characters that seem on autopilot, they creep under our skin till we become fully invested in them.
A superb serial killer thriller that proves an extremely satisfying read, Journey Man (The Richard Carter Novels Book 11) is highly recommended.
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ALSO BY A R SIMMONS