A tightly-plotted serial killer thriller- 4.5 stars
Source- personal copy
Published by Onyx, May 1st 2002
I read the Kindle version- the paperback version is 384 pages
I just love books that get right into the heads of serial killers!
What I meant to say (in a slightly more eloquent fashion) is that I really enjoy a well-written serial killer novel that explores not only the impact of the crime itself, but also the psychological where’s and whys of the perpetrator and what led them to carry out the acts in the first place.
Anne Frasier’s book definitely ticks those boxes. At the attention-grabbing start of this story we are introduced to a very sinister serial killer, one that Freud would have undoubtedly had a field-day with. From then on it’s a fast-paced, tension-filled creepy story right to the finish, which taps into the fears of every parent out there, particularly those of a new mother.
‘The Madonna Murderer’ (as he was dubbed by the press), was responsible for a spate of gruesome murders of thirteen young single mothers and their baby sons in Chicago over a decade ago- and then for reasons unknown, all suddenly went quiet. Now recent homicides in the city all too alarmingly fit his MO and it looks like he’s back- which is where police detective Max Irving and criminal profiler Ivy Dunlap fit in- only Ivy seems to be hiding a few secrets of her own…
What a chilling, intriguing story! Firstly, I must confess that some parts of it did feel a little bit ‘dated’ but that is understandable given that this was published over ten years ago. For example, Ivy doesn’t own a mobile phone, which would be a rarity nowadays, particularly in her profession. However, I’ve read some much older Mary Higgins Clark novels lately, and this compared to those is nothing and I was easily able to discount some terminology (or lack thereof) that felt slightly out of place.
Character-wise, I really enjoyed the initial dynamics between Max and Ivy and the nature of their changing relationship as the plot progressed, slowly moving from irritation to grudging respect to something that eventually bordered on friendship. Max and Ivy, as well as the secondary characters felt ‘real’ with their numerous flaws and interesting personality traits. I also found the relationship between Max and his son Ethan, fascinating. At first I wondered where it was going and why it was even relevant but it soon became prevalent to the narrative- though Ethan was such an unlikeable brat that I disliked him intensely!
Something that I can definitely say about this book is that it wasn’t predictable and it had some excellent twists and turns. The ending was also not rushed, which is a device I often find in books of this genre which sometimes spoils my overall enjoyment- but this was perfectly paced dénouement-wise and really suited my mood at the time I picked it up.
The story was quite vivid in places; I’m admittedly slightly squeamish when it comes to the finite details of crime scenes and I did find some of the scene set during an autopsy to be particularly near the knuckle- it was quite graphic for my tastes, but still excellently depicted. It is evident that the author has wanted all of her settings to be as evocative as possible and for me, it read in a completely believable manner throughout.
As an aside, Anne Frasier is actually a pseudonym of Theresa Weir and I am delighted that I now have the back catalogue of ‘both’ authors work to explore in future. After picking up a few decidedly mediocre suspense/thriller novels as of late, it was so reassuring to find something within the genre that was fast-paced, superbly executed plot-wise and held my attention until the very end. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to recommend ‘Hush’ for readers looking for a creepy serial killer read this winter.