All The Books I Can Read

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Review: Hunted – Elizabeth Heiter

on February 11, 2014

HuntedHunted (The Profiler #1)
Elizabeth Heiter
Harlequin MIRA
2014, 330p
Copy courtesy of Harlequin AUS

Evelyn Baine decided that she was going to be a criminal profiler at age 12 after her best friend was abducted and never seen again. She has dedicated her life to studying the behaviour of criminals and is one of the rising stars in the FBI. However she’s never caught a case quite like this one before.

Nicknamed the Bakersville Burier, the killer hunts young women and the two victims they’ve found so far were buried deep in the woods with only their heads sticking out of the ground. Evelyn has to prepare a profile for the reluctant local police force and get them to implement some proactive measures before the body count climbs even higher. There’s no doubt that this killer will keep going until he is caught – and he’s smart, so catching him isn’t going to be easy. Especially when she faces skepticism and questioning of her own abilities, even from within her organisation.

The killer knows that Evelyn is hunting him. And not only that, she’s taunting him as well, questioning his intelligence. She’s just guaranteed that she’s going to be his next victim and he’s going to have very special plans for her.

Hunted is the first in a new series focusing on FBI criminal profiler Evelyn Baine and her determination to find the person who kidnapped and presumably murdered her childhood best friend Cassie who disappeared some seventeen years ago when both the girls were 12. Evelyn has studied a lot over the years and she knows that the perpetrator must’ve stalked the girls for days, learning their habits. It could’ve been her just as easily.

Although incredibly talented, one of the brightest stars in the FBI, Evelyn often faces condescension from her superiors and the cops on the murder case also have their moments in questioning her skills and even her relevance to their case. It doesn’t help that Evelyn isn’t exactly socially gifted either and often has trouble relating to other people and helping them get to know her. She comes off as stand-offish and awkward, remote and cold. Despite this however, she has one ally, her former mentor Greg who helped train her as well as the friendship of Greg’s cousin Gabe and Gabe’s friend Kyle, both of whom work for the FBI but in the bureau’s Hostage Rescue Team. Kyle has made his interest in Evelyn quite clear but so far she’s been unable or unwilling to take him seriously. A lot of people in her life have left her: her father died young, her mother was an alcoholic who bought home all unsuitable manner of boyfriends, some down right dangerous. Evelyn went to live with her grandparents, her grandfather died when she was a teenager and her grandmother is in a nursing home. Evelyn has also been dumped for someone else by a previous boyfriend and all of these things combined make it incredibly difficult for her to even contemplate trusting anyone. She lets very few people into her life and even those who are within her inner circle are often kept at arms length.

There’s no denying that Evelyn is very good at her job but I have to say if I have one criticism of this book, it’s where they place the protagonist in danger by using them as bait. It drives me nuts and it happens a lot of the time in these sorts of books where the protagonist not only steps outside of the boundaries of their job but also ends up being the way in which they catch the perpetrator. In this story, they deliberately taunt the killer by press conference, using details of something and parade Evelyn around to draw him out. Friends of Evelyn want to protect her, to give extra back-up but the FBI agent in charge of the case refuses, in the same  manner that he got narky with Evelyn when she uncovered leads on her own. I know Evelyn’s friends were from a different division of the bureau and this wasn’t their job as such but it was reiterated over and over how smart and strong the killer was. He’d killed before without being caught, the two bodies had only been discovered by chance and he was able to blend in to his surroundings and change his appearance very skilfully. It was clear that they were going up against someone who would be a match and then not only did they refuse extra help but two of the four agents at Evelyn’s house left the scene in order to get coffee, leaving only half the manpower behind. And of course, that was when the killer took the bait.

Despite that little blip, I enjoyed this story and the way in which it was written. I always find books that showcase the careers of FBI or CIA or NSA agents really interesting perhaps because we don’t have such a presence here in Australia with organisations such as these. There’s lots that has been left unsaid here for future installments, such as what happened to Cassie and Evelyn’s attempts to finally find her as well as her friendship with Kyle which is moving at snail’s pace towards something else. I hope to see lots of progression with Evelyn’s character throughout this series – at the moment she’s a bit of a stereotype, the remote workaholic with the private pain that fuels it all. I think she has lots of room to grow.

7/10

Book #35 of 2014

 

 

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One response to “Review: Hunted – Elizabeth Heiter

  1. […] more on this book, check out Bree’s take on it over at All the Books I Can Read. she covers a few details I didn’t. One more to check before you buy is Publisher’ […]

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