Review by Booklist Review
The murder of amateur cybersleuth Grace Harper bears the hallmarks of Chicago's decades-dormant Lovelorn Killer, forcing lead detective Annalisa Vega to confront painful memories of his past crimes while navigating a new working relationship with her ex-husband, Nick Carelli. In the weeks before she was murdered, Grace urged her amateur investigation group to reexamine the Lovelorn Killer's murders, claiming that she'd discovered a new pattern to the attacks. Somehow, her sleuthing must have caught the killer's attention. Vega recognizes that the Harper case is a shot at redemption for her father, a retired cop who has long resented being removed from the first Lovelorn investigation after the Vegas' neighbor Katie Duffy became one of the killer's victims. For Annalisa, the Lovelorn Killer's reemergence revives the heartbreak of losing her first love, Colin Duffy, after his mother's murder. This unique connection hasn't escaped the Lovelorn Killer, either, and he targets Vega as his latest "love." Schaffhausen, author of the Ellery Hathaway procedurals, seamlessly weaves past and present together and easily manipulates strong romantic and family-loyalty subplots that might otherwise sink a poorly constructed story. In this strong series debut these multiple story lines provide layers to a heroine who sacrifices everything she loves in pursuit of justice, emerging with an optimistic eye toward what comes next.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Det. Annalisa Vega of the Chicago PD, the strong, multilayered protagonist of this exceptional series launch from Schaffhausen (the Ellery Hathaway and Reed Markham mysteries), is called to a crime scene at the home of Grace Harper, who has been strangled by an ingenious system of knotted ropes. On the walls are photos of women in similar poses, all victims of the Lovelorn Killer, who murdered seven women in the late 1990s, then dropped out of sight. His last victim happens to have been the mother of a childhood friend of Annalisa's. The police soon discover Grace was part of a group of amateur sleuths who attempt to solve cold cases. Had she come too close to identifying the serial killer, or was she the victim of a copycat? Interspersed with gripping chapters focused on Annalisa's detective work are extracts from Grace's journal that offer some tantalizing insights into a murderer's mind. Excellent fair-play plotting, genuine surprises, and convincing characters make this a surefire winner. Mystery fans are in for a treat. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Aug.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A dogged Chicago police detective becomes both hunter and prey in the search for a legendary serial killer. Annalisa Vega is rescued from yet another disappointing blind date by a call to a crime scene. The victim is Grace Harper, found dead on her spotless kitchen floor, and Annalisa's rugged partner, Nick Carelli, is already on the scene. The M.O. indicates that the crime could be the work of the Lovelorn Killer, who bound and garroted seven women to death in the 1990s before going underground. Grace also bears a strong resemblance to Katie Duffy, a close friend of Annalisa's who became the seventh victim. Annalisa has been haunted by her failure to catch the Lovelorn Killer ever since. Grace belonged to the Grave Diggers, a group dedicated to investigating cold cases. Had she discovered the killer's identity? Revisiting the old crimes is a painful necessity if Annalisa is to find Grace's murderer ahead of the FBI. The original investigators ignored many witnesses, and waitress Lora Fitz reported an encounter with the Lovelorn Killer shortly before Katie's death. An additional thread is provided by Grace's interspersed diary entries. As part of his pathology, the killer repeatedly contacted his would-be victims. Could the whispery voice calling Annalisa be his? Schaffhausen combines familiar tropes in an unsubtle but arresting way and concisely fleshes out the supporting cast, from Annalisa's womanizing partner to her Pops, who's battling Parkinson's, to Police Commander Lynn Zimmer, nicknamed the Hammer. Visceral chills, a colorful cast, and a handful of effective twists add up to a promising series debut. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.