This is a really graphic novel, the dark world of serial killers and other damaged individuals who prey upon humankind. FBI Special Agent Smoky Barrett is no stranger to this landscape. Her life has already collided with one of these monsters, her husband and daughter murdered, Smokyís face disfigured by her attacker.
Now with a new man and the daughter of a murdered friend creating a new family, Smoky is wary of happiness. Those who experience horrors have difficulty trusting lifeís bounty, and Smoky is no exception. Yet she divides her life between the ugly realities of her work and the tranquil hours at home - until the latest monster takes away even that security.
It all begins with a wedding for one of Smokyís team and a body dropped into the middle of the festivities. The still-breathing body is that of an ex-cop who has been missing for eight years. Kept in the dark and tortured all that time, the woman is of little help as a witness to Smoky; nor are the other bodies that appear soon after the first. Unfortunately, the new bodies are alive, but barely - all have been crudely lobotomized.
It is up to Smoky and her crew to unravel this nightmare and the sick individual behind the kidnappings. Apparently the criminal mastermind has developed a system for relieving disgruntled husbands of their wives in a collusion that is profitable for both parties. But this serial killer is unlike any other that Smoky has encountered, a monster bred over long years who has created a sophisticated method of accruing large amounts of cash and brain-dead victims.
I havenít read any of Chelsea Cainís work - couldnít - but I imagine that Cody Mc Fadyen is similar in his brutal observations and gruesome details. Certainly, there is a grim fascination with this netherworld that exists far below the radar of everyday life. And there are those tasked with bringing such individuals to justice. Not for the faint of heart, the devil is in the details of this novel - and they are gruesome - an ugly terrain of the soulless. The scarred Smoky is queen of the serial killer hunters, staring into the cold eye of those who inhabit the dark, extinguishing their flames.