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Carter Blake is a bit of a mystery. He specialises in locating people who don’t want to be
found, and certainly has skills and thought processes to make him good at his job. Hang on, it’s not a job – he’s not employed salary-wise – he accepts contracts, so he’s a free agent. We don’t know Blake’s background – is he ex-police? Ex-military? Ex-secret service?
Blake is called in by the FBI to assist in locating a death row escapee, serial killer Caleb Wardell. SAC Walter F Donaldson sets Dave Edwards (“Assistant Special Agent”) in charge of the man hunt, with Special Agent Elaine Banner to work with Edwards and Blake. Unsurprisingly when you get to know him, Blake prefers to use his own methods. Banner sticks with him as he heads in the directions he’s certain Wardell would have taken, while Edwards stubbornly takes the conservative, tried-and-true procedures and heads in the wrong direction.
There is some intriguing interplay with the Russian mobsters, whose attempt to free Wardell’s transport companion gave Wardell the opportunity to get away. They’re not too pleased about Wardell killling their objective either. Blake works by getting inside the head of the one to be caught. But, as Wardell is in his own head first, Blake arrives at the right locations at the wrong time: too late to prevent a murder or massacre. Wardell enjoys both – a particular target or a random set of victims. Mix in bad politics, manipulation of Wardell himself – and his of Blake, and a fake FBI agent, and you have a pot-pourri of things rotten.
What makes this a great book is Cross letting us see different characters’ points of view – it adds to one’s understanding of the character, and of his/her motivation and processing of the events. It’s a method well handled, and I will definitely be looking for the next novel.) (Killing Season is the first of a Carter Blake series, so there’s your reason for buying it as well as the second novel, The Samaritan, expected in 2015.)
Reviewed by Lynne McAnulty-Street
by Mason Cross
Published by Orion Books
ISBN 9781409145677 paperback
Also available as hard cover and ebook editions