It was a stab in the dark.
On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.
Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime—from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.
The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama—and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.
I did not like the first half of this book, at all. Because one of the side characters, that until then I’d only had positive thoughts of, said a word that Trans people find offensive, I was immediately on my guard. There were hints that the deranged serial killer was going to be Trans or non-binary and it kept me on edge in a bad way. Based on what there was I did not trust Robb to write about the subject in a well-researched and thoughtful way.
Making matters worse a female novelist was a main character in the story. I have not had good experiences with that, especially when it feels like there is some tongue in cheek things said to the reader through that character. Which was the case here.
Like I said the first half of this book was not for me in any way. The second half had us back in familiar territory, though, and I preferred that. We had a fair amount of Peabody, which I loved. Roarke was great. Sadly, the first half ruined the book for me.