Stalked is an interesting thriller that moves from Quantico, Virginia, to New York City, where the murder of true-crime author Rosemary Weber initiates an investigation with a complicated set of circumstances requiring the combined forces of the FBI and NYC detectives to unravel the killer’s motive. In Virginia, Lucy Kincaid is completing a rigorous program to become an agent when she is contacted by the FBI agent on site in New York: her name has appeared in the victim’s research.
While Kincaid is working diligently to pass the course, albeit facing an obstacle to her progress at Quantico—a supervisor determined to see her wash out—and conscious of the necessity to maintain a low profile within her class, she is drawn into the New York murder case as events evolve. Her own traumatic experiences as a child lend insight to the psychology of those impacted by violent crimes beyond the obvious victims. With the support of her private investigator boyfriend, Sean Rogan, the joint law enforcement efforts on scene in New York and the escalation of associated murders following the author’s, Lucy becomes deeply involved in the resolution of this troubling investigation, pulled summarily from her studies at Quantico to assist.
Given the number of characters in the plot, the solution is never obvious. Brennan’s strength is obvious in juggling motives and events as she explores the psychology of survivors left in the wake of deadly violence. As past cases and the various individuals involved are thoroughly examined, Brennan brings the long-simmering rage of a killer into present-day reality, authorities called on to explain their failures to the public. Meanwhile, the real-time difficulties of active investigation prove insufficient to heal the significant damage in the wake of loss.
Whether in the ritualized classroom activities and the rigorous physical exercises at Quantico FBI training headquarters or the well-organized, inter-agency demands of apprehending a killer on a rampage, the police procedural grinds on, the details essential to a solid conviction and the pursuit of the right suspect. While the good guys are very good—and relatably human—the bad guys are more carefully nuanced in developing criminal behavior, childhood experiences, trauma and grief major players in a case no one could have anticipated in time to prevent murder. While not a nail-biter, Stalked is interesting in its premise and construction, primary characters building solid reputations as they return for more adventures, certainly in the case of Kincaid and Rogan.