Sunday, April 10, 2011

So Close the Hand of Death by J.T. Ellison

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Talent borrows. Genius steals. Evil delegates.

It's a hideous echo of a violent past. Across America, murders are being committed with all the twisted hallmarks of the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer and Son of Sam. The media frenzy explodes and Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows instantly that The Pretender is back…and he's got helpers.

As The Pretender's disciples perpetrate their sick homages—stretching police and FBI dangerously thin—Taylor tries desperately to prepare for their inevitable showdown. And she must do it alone. To be close to her is to be in mortal danger, and she won't risk losing anyone she loves. But the isolation, the self-doubt and the rising body count are taking their toll—she's tripwire tense and ready to snap.

The brilliant psychopath who both adores and despises her is drawing close. Close enough to touch.…

I've somehow gotten myself into a habit of agreeing to review a book without bothering to find out it's actually part of a series.  Not only that, but they are tending to be books that occur well into the series and not at the beginning.  So Close the Hand of Death is now the third book that I've read recently that fits into that category.  It's the sixth book in the Taylor Jackson series, which is now a series I will have to start at the beginning of.

I'm going to assume that much like Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan, this book could be classified as romantic suspense.  I had an inkling of that when I agreed to review it but thanks to the Allison Brennan book, I was prepared to enjoy the story.  What I wasn't prepared for was how much the story line would hook me from the beginning.  This book is both suspenseful and violent, without being over the top.  The action starts at a fast and furious pace and never lets up.  It had me on pins and needles the entire time I was reading it, I loved it.

The characters are not only likable, they are believable, even when dealing with situations that most of us would crumble beneath.  In Taylor Jackson I have found a character that is well developed and from what I could tell from this installment, has a monstrous back story that I can't wait to discover for myself.  She is surrounded by friends and colleagues that aren't always perfect or make the right decisions.  They, like her, are flawed individuals that try to do the right thing but don't always manage to do it cleanly.

My only issue was not reading the books in order.  This one seems to take place almost immediately after the last one, so I felt a little lost at times.  The author does give a little back story so I wasn't totally in the dark, but I think it would be better to start with the first book in the series, All the Pretty Girls.  I for one will get started on that as soon as I possibly can.

I would like to thank the folks at PTA (Planned Television Arts) for the opportunity to read/review this book.

Challenges: A-Z, M&S


bermudaonion said...

I don't like to come into the middle of a series but when a book is well written, it works out fine. I love a book that keeps me on the edge of my seat like that.

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Great review! I know...we should be told that it's part of a series. What a pain. =O(

Isn't J.T. Ellison in Nashville or am I thinking of someone else?

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Sounds good Ryan - and you are right - I have to watch that too... I think authors and publishers are pushing mid book series to get us hooked into reading them all... I too have agreed to a couple reviews that surprised me when I seen they were now first in the series.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I've read some mixed reviews on this one. Nice to read a good one!

Anonymous said...

I used to avoid coming in to a series in the middle, but it hasn't been bothering me as much lately. If it's written well, I don't think it should really matter.

Staci said...

I've done this a time or two too so don't feel too bad. I hate jumping into the middle of a series, but this one sounds fantastic!!

Tom Mathews said...

I think it's good that you review books in a series that you aren't familiar with. What better way to tell prospective readers whether they should dive right in or start at the beginning? Different authors build in different amounts of back story and it's good to know ahead of time whether the back story is just that or is a key element of the book and readers will be lost if they haven't read the previous books. I guess I should get off my butt and read my review copy of 'The Immortals'. Thanks for the great review!