Monday, 13 March 2017

Jeopardy Surface - Sheri Leigh Horn



It’s the witching hour and Special Agent Regan Ross is having a WTF kind of night. Morning? How the hell did she get from her bed to her front yard? And why is she holding a loaded firearm? Sleepwalking doesn’t bode well for the rising star in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, but whatever is causing her recent weight loss and bizarre nocturnal activities will have to wait. The phone is ringing. It’s probably her sister Erin, the surgeon who knows best, demanding to know her plans for the holidays. Why would this year be any different? They’ll spend the somber anniversary and Christmas like always—drinking too much, watching Turner Classic Movies, and not talking about their dead parents. Caller ID provides yet another surprise.

Hearing Special Agent Robert Haskins’ voice for the first time in six months has Regan reeling. The mention of Maryland’s Eastern Shore conjures images of Jennifer Abbott, the student-athlete whose disappearance from a small campus is national news. There are complications. For starters, her areas of expertise—geographic profiling and predictive analysis—require a lot of information from a series of crimes. Single murders typically aren’t her purview and involving herself in an investigation to which she has not been officially assigned would cause her supervisor’s head to spin off. She should say no, but there’s too much residual guilt where Rob Haskins is concerned.

Regan Ross knows bad, and this one is BAD. The killer has left the mutilated body and a cache of troubling clues at a remote farm and posted the coordinates of the cache on a popular geocaching website. Is he taunting investigators? Expediting the discovery of his work? Both? The calculated modus operandi and uniquely sadistic signatures are not the work of a novice, and Regan is sure of one thing: he will kill again.

When visiting forensic psychologist Dr. Sheridan Rourke present a lecture at Quantico featuring closed cases from Northern Ireland, Regan makes a shocking connection between an older series of murders and the Maryland case. Despite the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s insistence to the contrary, Regan and Rourke are convinced the killer of five women in Belfast two years ago is hunting women on the Chesapeake Bay. As the two become unlikely partners, Regan learns the psychologist's past may be as haunted as her own.

What did I think?

You know when you lose track of time and end up drinking cold tea that you are reading a good book and boy does Jeopardy Surface fit that bill.  With a story that encompasses the Lockerbie disaster of 1988, the troubles in Northern Ireland and a seemingly unrelated serial killer on the east coast of America, I was a willing captive from the very first page and had no intention of escape until the final page had been turned.

Regan Ross is a tough cookie.  She survived the Lockerbie disaster and tours in Iraq but when it comes to her family she will fight to the death.  Regan specialises in geographic profiling, looking at locations of crimes and pinpointing red, amber and green areas of interest in what is known as a jeopardy surface.  When she is drawn into profiling a serial killer, I thought I knew where the story was going but I an happy to report that I was completely wrong.  Jeopardy Surface is anything but predictable so buckle up and prepare for the ride of your life.

I loved Regan's love for her family and her tough exterior.  She has an older sister Erin and niece Lanie and she really would walk over hot coals for them.  Regan even wants to protect Erin from knowing the horrors she suffered in Iraq but her family love her as much as she loves them and can help her get through it, if she will only let them.

Suffering night terrors, Regan takes extreme measures to stop her wandering during the night and it is in this state that we are introduced to her, waking in her front garden at the height of the witching hour.  Regan is a heroine so incredibly flawed that we can't help but warm to her immediately.  Coupled with an amazing sense of humour, I didn't know whether I wanted to meet her or be her. When Regan is drawn into investigating a serial killer, she is introduced to Dr Sheridan Rourke who encountered a similar case in Northern Ireland, only that killer was identified and put behind bars, or was he?  Could the Northern Ireland police have got it wrong? Dr Rourke certainly thinks so and this time it's personal.

Sheri Leigh Horn has written an AMAZING book, one that draws you in from the first page and, much like the wires wrapped round the victims' necks, refuses to let go.  Seriously, is this a debut?  It's full of action, adventure, intrigue and a humour as dry as the cookies that Regan tries to eat.  Jeopardy Surface is a stunning, action-packed debut that I will be recommending over and over again - I just hope that Sheri Leigh Horn writes in the same fast pace as her book as I can't wait to read more about Regan Ross.  

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:




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