Play Dead by Richard Montanari

Play Dead

From the Dust jacket on the hard cover version:

In each soul, a secret…

Philadelphia homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano’s first assignment from the Cold Case files is the brutal murder of a young runaway. The lifeless body of Caitlin O’Riordan was found carefully posed in a glass display case in the desolate Philadelphia Badlands but, as Byrne and Balzano rapidly discover, she was just the first pawn in the killer’s twisted game…

A mysterious phone call leads them on a scavenger hunt for a second victim. This time a young girl has been dismembered, her body parts left in three boxes in the basement of a deserted house. More clues lead to other victims and, as the body count rises, it becomes clear that there is a serial killer on the loose, hell-bent on completing the ‘performance’ of a lifetime.

As more runaways vanish, Byrne and Balzano come to realize that the homicidal mastermind plans to complete seven depraved tricks in his dark and dangerous magic act. With Balzano increasingly obsessed by a case that haunts her, and Byrne struggling with a loss of his own, the stakes are mounting. But this is one game they can’t afford to lose…

Play Dead is the latest installment (that I have read, anyway) in the Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne series of books. Again, this one was sent to me by Charm, of the Book Club Forum (one more to go, Charm?), so to her I say “Thank You!”. I like Play Dead better than I did the last one in the series, not that The Skin Gods was bad in any way, mind, I just liked Play Dead better!

There are certain murder/mystery novels that I can sit down to start reading & not get back up again until I have finished – they are rare & only a few authors have had the ability to draw me in like that. Jeffery Deaver is a prime example – I never want to put his books down until they are completely read. Well, this is what Play Dead was like. I sat down to read it one weekend when I was home from work & practically didn’t move; I had to finish reading it before anything else could be done that day. This book had me gripped from start to finish & while I did eventually figure out who done it (managed to not read the ending first with this one), I only figured it out just before the killer was revealed! Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book & would say  that it was the best Monanari I’ve read so far!

So, Charm, when are you sending me the last one in the series? lol!

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