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So Close the Hand of Death

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Fast paced, intricate, deadly – J.T. Ellison’s latest offering in the Taylor Jackson book series, “So Close the Hand of Death,” is all that and then some.

Coming to the table late, about five books behind in the series, was no handicap in reading this thriller. Uninitiated to Lt. Jackson’s trademark investigative stylings, I wasn’t disappointed.

Aside from a few typos later in the book, which could be argued simply stream of consciousness from a later victim, I fully recommend this book to murder mystery lovers.

The book primarily takes place over the course of the four days, and challenges central character Taylor Jackson at every turn to question what she’s learned about serial killer The Pretender.

The killer until the very end is a few steps ahead of Jackson, but it all unravels eventually in a twisted plot that even I, avid reader and cop-murder-mystery movie enthusiast, hadn’t quite reasoned out.

(Of course if I’d had the advantage of the previous books, it’s possible I might have figured it out as they apparently have built to this culmination in the series, explaining so much. Or not, who knows? I just might have to go back and read them to find out!)

The Pretender, who honed his skill under the tutelage of the Snow White killer until his tutor was killed, has apparently branched out.

The student has become the teacher, with three defined individuals answering his call, creating copy-cat murders across the country in a sinister plot designed to create public panic and stymie law enforcement big and small.

He also has two axes grinding, tying up a few personal loose ends and targeting those closest to Jackson to draw her in.

The Pretender has made the case very personal for Jackson.

At the beginning of the book he has her boss and mentor Sgt. Pete Fitzgerald and his girlfriendSusie McDonald kidnapped. Susie is stabbed to death and Fitz’s eye sliced out before Fitz is released in another state.

There’s a bloodbath of officers when some of The Pretenders minions don cop uniforms.

Jackson and John Baldwin narrowly avoid termination, but a few of the fake cops flee. The action moves  back to Nashville, where it soon becomes apparent The Pretenders’ protegés, copy-cat killers ,are heading.

A savvy online crime blogger, Felon E, who has contacts across the country thanks to her past as a journalist and her slain cop husband, puts it all together and outs the copycat Zodiac Killer, Boston Strangler and Son of Sam’s killings occurring at various locations across the U.S. almost simultaneously as part of a larger scheme.

Felon E, Colleen Keck, is targeted for termination by the killer, and learns the victims have been selected from among commenters on her website.

Keck mother seeks the help of Jackson, who helped train her hubby Tommy as a rookie cop and  who Tommy told Colleen to trust if she ever found herself in trouble.

The Pretender is smart, but Jackson, with help from her dedicated law enforcement team and that of her fiancé, suspended FBI John Baldwin, and his loyal team, are just as wily.

When The Pretender nabs Jackson’s pregnant best friend, Dr. Sam Loughley, all bets are off and Jackson kicks into high gear.

A few loose ends give them a name and set them on a path to Ewan Copeland’s past and ultimately lead her to him.

It all comes down to timing –  and Jackson.

Will her need to ensure Copeland never hurts anyone close to her or anyone else again overrule Jackson’s sense of duty to do what’s right?

Will Baldwin and their teams find her in time?

Will she escape unharmed?

The end of the book  answers most of those questions, but not all the loose ends are tied up.

Ellison serves up a chilling tale that leaves  you wanting more – wanting to find out the next chapter in this grisly tale.

Think I’m going to have to go back and read the rest of the series, just to get the full build up that culminated in this book and be sure I didn’t miss anything in this series before the next chapter in this tale is released ... because leaving things so ... altered without a follow up... well, that’d just be a crime in and of itself.


Fast paced, intricate, deadly – J.T. Ellison’s latest offering in the Taylor Jackson book series, “So Close the Hand of Death,” is all that and then some.

Coming to the table late, about five books behind in the series, was no handicap in reading this thriller. Uninitiated to Lt. Jackson’s trademark investigative stylings, I wasn’t disappointed.

Aside from a few typos later in the book, which could be argued simply stream of consciousness from a later victim, I fully recommend this book to murder mystery lovers.

The book primarily takes place over the course of the four days, and challenges central character Taylor Jackson at every turn to question what she’s learned about serial killer The Pretender.

The killer until the very end is a few steps ahead of Jackson, but it all unravels eventually in a twisted plot that even I, avid reader and cop-murder-mystery movie enthusiast, hadn’t quite reasoned out.

(Of course if I’d had the advantage of the previous books, it’s possible I might have figured it out as they apparently have built to this culmination in the series, explaining so much. Or not, who knows? I just might have to go back and read them to find out!)

The Pretender, who honed his skill under the tutelage of the Snow White killer until his tutor was killed, has apparently branched out.

The student has become the teacher, with three defined individuals answering his call, creating copy-cat murders across the country in a sinister plot designed to create public panic and stymie law enforcement big and small.

He also has two axes grinding, tying up a few personal loose ends and targeting those closest to Jackson to draw her in.

The Pretender has made the case very personal for Jackson.

At the beginning of the book he has her boss and mentor Sgt. Pete Fitzgerald and his girlfriendSusie McDonald kidnapped. Susie is stabbed to death and Fitz’s eye sliced out before Fitz is released in another state.

There’s a bloodbath of officers when some of The Pretenders minions don cop uniforms.

Jackson and John Baldwin narrowly avoid termination, but a few of the fake cops flee. The action moves  back to Nashville, where it soon becomes apparent The Pretenders’ protegés, copy-cat killers ,are heading.

A savvy online crime blogger, Felon E, who has contacts across the country thanks to her past as a journalist and her slain cop husband, puts it all together and outs the copycat Zodiac Killer, Boston Strangler and Son of Sam’s killings occurring at various locations across the U.S. almost simultaneously as part of a larger scheme.

Felon E, Colleen Keck, is targeted for termination by the killer, and learns the victims have been selected from among commenters on her website.

Keck mother seeks the help of Jackson, who helped train her hubby Tommy as a rookie cop and  who Tommy told Colleen to trust if she ever found herself in trouble.

The Pretender is smart, but Jackson, with help from her dedicated law enforcement team and that of her fiancé, suspended FBI John Baldwin, and his loyal team, are just as wily.

When The Pretender nabs Jackson’s pregnant best friend, Dr. Sam Loughley, all bets are off and Jackson kicks into high gear.

A few loose ends give them a name and set them on a path to Ewan Copeland’s past and ultimately lead her to him.

It all comes down to timing –  and Jackson.

Will her need to ensure Copeland never hurts anyone close to her or anyone else again overrule Jackson’s sense of duty to do what’s right?

Will Baldwin and their teams find her in time?

Will she escape unharmed?

The end of the book  answers most of those questions, but not all the loose ends are tied up.

Ellison serves up a chilling tale that leaves  you wanting more – wanting to find out the next chapter in this grisly tale.

Think I’m going to have to go back and read the rest of the series, just to get the full build up that culminated in this book and be sure I didn’t miss anything in this series before the next chapter in this tale is released ... because leaving things so ... altered without a follow up... well, that’d just be a crime in and of itself.

 

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