Title: Ruthless: The Faces of Evil Series: Book 6
Classification: Adult Fiction
Series: Faces of Evil
Format: Paperback; 352 pages
Publisher: Forever (August 27, 2013)
Notes: Received ARC from the Publisher
Author's Website: http://www.debrawebb.com/
Some jobs don't end at the end of a shift. Some jobs follow you home--literally. Jess Harris has such a job. She is the Deputy Chief of the Birmingham Police Department and she's recently gotten a little present from a serial killer who has attempted to add her name to his list of victims. While she and the FBI department she formerly worked in attempted to find and apprehend him, he's the one that got away by fleeing the country.
While she's suspected the man may be back in the states, a present left in her refrigerator--a Chinese takeout style box filled with worms with a note attached that read, "Are you going to fish or cut bait?"--leaves little doubt the man has come back to play, and a deadly and complicated game of cat and mouse is about to ensue.
As if that wasn't enough, another serial killer who has remained silent for over a decade has made his presence known. The second psychopath mailed a box of bones with a newspaper article about a little girl who went missing over thirteen years ago. The girl was the last victim of a kidnapper dubbed the 'Man in the Moon'. The inside flap of the box had instructions which requested that the box and its contents be given to Jess. While Jess had been just a child herself when the kidnappings had occurred, it's believed her recent notoriety among the media spurred the killer to reach out to her.
For nearly two decades the 'Man in the Moon' had stalked the streets of Birmingham. Every year, on the night of the Harvest/Hunter's Moon, a young girl between the ages of seven and nine had gone missing. During a Harvest Moon, the moon looks to be closer to the earth than at any other time. Someone in the media noticed and commented that "it was almost as if the moon got so close to the earth that the man living there reached down and snatched a human child so he wouldn't have to live alone." Hence, the name 'Man in the Moon' stuck. When the madness finally ended, a total of twenty little girls had gone missing and their fates had remained a mystery, until now.
The note left by the killer read, "Hello, Jess. We're all waiting for you to find us." And thus ensued a second deadly game, one of entailing a combination of 'hide-and-go-seek' and 'tag, you're it'. The question is will she be able to win the game many other officers haven't? If the killer follows his previous pattern she doesn't have much time before he selects his next victim.
This is the sixth book of the series and I'm loving it. It's got all the elements one could want from a police series. You've got action, suspense, mystery, and drama. Everything has to be pieced together like a complex puzzle where some of the pieces don't appear until the last second. Kind of like when you put together a jigsaw puzzle and those last couple of piece appear to be missing and you have to search for them only to find they'd wedged themselves somewhere right under your nose waiting to be discovered.
Besides all the action and drama associated with the murderers, there is also a great deal of character development that makes the characters appear three dimensional. Jess puts her whole self into her job. Over the past several months she's been trying to coax the serial killer who tried to kill her, and who is known as The Player, to come out of hiding. This may be a case of "be careful what you wish for because you might just get it" because you know a criminal mastermind is not going to play fair. We still don't get closure with this ongoing storyline, but I suspect the next book will have a larger portion of it dedicated to it.
What I enjoy most about the series is that the author seeds each book with little kernels of information that make you wonder what their significance might be. I can't help but wonder if there's something off about her landlord. In the last book she found a man's wedding ring in the garage, yet the man has never been married. Was it truly just an innocent trinket or something more? Then there's the mystery of what happened to the other Chief Deputy. There is evidence to suggest he may have been out to do Jess harm before he mysteriously disappeared. Could her landlord have done him in or did someone from the last case he worked on take him out? Regardless of what happened, his disappearance has caused friction between Jess and some of the other cops in her department because it was known that she and Captain Ted Allen had not gotten along and some suspect his disappearance has something to do with her.
Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses and look forward to continuing the series. It's fast paced and draws the reader in in such a way as to give it an almost interactive quality. If your looking for an engaging series which challenges you to solve the mystery before the protagonist does, then you may what to check this series out. I HIGHLY recommend it.