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||October 31, 2008
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Compulsion by Jennifer Chase
When Serial Killers Terrorize a California Beach Community, One Woman Stands in Their Way
Emily Stone doesn’t have a badge. But that hasn’t stopped her from tracking down some of the West’s most dangerous child-killers. Armed with a digital SLR camera, laptop computer and her trusty Beretta, Stone uses her innate gift for detective work to identify the perps — and then anonymously e-mail the evidence to the cops.
Now, the hunt for two brazen serial killers on the loose right in her own coastal California town threatens to expose Stone’s identity — unraveling her carefully constructed cover and jeopardizing her life’s work. But when she gets too close to the action, this razor-sharp hunter becomes the hunted. Cooperating with the handsome local police detective could be the only hope for stopping the rampage directed at unsuspecting young women — and saving herself. Can they piece together the clues in time?
Compulsion mixes CSI-style investigation with a ripped-from-the-headlines plot and a dose of romance for a keeps-you-guessing, fast-paced and savvy thriller, right up until the shocking finale.
Wednesday 0900 Hours
The man strolls down the gravel driveway to his makeshift torture trap disguised as a late model Chevy Suburban. It is in fact a hideous, retrofitted, rolling snare designed specifically for the secure confinement of the innocent. He has already stalked and captured several children between the ages four and ten from their safe homes and familiar yards. They are never to be seen alive again. Their only mistake was their innocence and inexperience of the inexplicable evil that relentlessly wanders the neighborhoods across the nation, wearing a simple mask of normalcy.
Dressed in khaki shorts, cheap superstore sneakers and a loose fitting blue and yellow Hawaiian shirt, the clean shaven, dark-haired man in his late-thirties looked almost like any other man who might have had a decent day job and perhaps even a family of his own. He doesn’t have a single care in the world. He feels a sense of peace and deep relaxation, he’s both tired and re-energized.
This particular man has a secret: a dark secret of an unfulfilled need to prey upon the innocent, snatch them from their secure lives, torture them, murder them, and then leave their tiny remains isolated away from civilization. This driving compulsion will never be satisfied, and the hideous crimes will never be fully solved. The police will never find the little victims’ remains, and families will never receive closure for their unimaginable loss. Only one promise would prevail, the crimes will continue, remain unsolved and with time eventually be forgotten by the general public. The continuous fantasy re-enactment will never stop as long as the killer is left alive. Death poses the only logical solution to stop this tormenting cycle of death.
He opens the creaky back doors of the Suburban and takes out two white five gallon buckets setting them down on the trash littered street. The back of the vehicle is cluttered with miscellaneous tools and paint supplies that a painting contractor would most likely use. Upon closer inspection, deeper inside the cargo area, there are handcuffs and shackles fixed to stationary hooks reminiscent of medieval torture chambers. The windows are coated with a thin opaque vinyl that ensures complete privacy.
Absently, the man wipes his sweaty forehead with the back of his calloused hand. The temperature has risen past ninety-six degrees, and the heat borders on unbearable; but, typical for Arizona in the beginning stages of the summer months.
The escalating heat works in his favor. The decomposition of the small human bodies will be accelerated in this climate; therefore, omitting the weary task of burying the bodies below a foot deep. The tiny bones left behind will be scattered by scavengers and other small critters leaving no trace of the once lively existence of the innocent victims.
All-Time Great Fiction Suspense Thriller
Jennifer Chase’s Compulsion is an all-time great fiction suspense thriller. Jennifer takes her knowledge of forensic science and criminology to new levels of understanding and entertainment. This is one edge-of-your-seat who-dun-it that will keep you enthralled from the first page to the last.
Emily Stone has one quest in life and that is to see that all killers are brought to justice. Her parents had been killed in a botched robbery and with no suspects that would end in an arrest, she is left to doubt the abilities of some of the men in law enforcement.
Keeping her identity a secret, Emily works alone and behind the scenes to track down and gather evidence to convict child killers around the country. Anonymously she gathers the evidence and sends it by email to the law enforcement officers who are working the cases.
Suddenly Emily finds herself deeply involved in a serial murder case that has her own community locked in its icy grip. Tracking killers around the country is one thing, but to have them almost on her doorstep is quite another. Almost too late she realizes just how close to home these killers are.
Just when Emily is stressed to the limit from trying to keep her identity hidden so that she can continue to work safely behind the scenes and not become a victim in the process, she meets handsome young detective, Rick Lopez. She finds herself falling for the detective and opens her heart and discloses her secrets. She tells Rick what she knows and what she thinks about the serial killers of the case on which he is working. Rick is fascinated by Emily and knows that he has finally found a kindred spirit. He knows in his heart that he is falling in love with the beautiful and secretive Emily.
To keep Rick and her long-time friend, police Sergeant Mike Sullivan safe, Emily sneaks away to confront the killers on her own turf and in a circumstance under which she has control. Knowing the identity of one of the killers, Emily knows that this has now turned into a game of cat and mouse where she is the bait and the killer is determined to find her. The clock is ticking and she can almost feel the killer’s hot breath on the back of her neck as she waits in hiding for him to make his next move. Trying hard to turn the tables on this monster, she has set her own trap to bring him down. But will it be enough?
For all you forensic science buffs, Compulsion is a must read and for everyone else, you will enjoy the mystery, suspense, and thrills of a well-written and thoroughly captivating book. You may want to read it with all the lights on.
Reviewed by Sandra E. Graham - BookPleasures, author of Amos Jakey and Nicolina
Captivating Thriller That is a Guaranteed Page-Turner!
There are certain types of books that are almost guaranteed to keep me turning the pages into the late hours of the night. The first is any novel that develops a compelling story of the complexities found in human relationships. Second, I love a great piece of historical fiction that places me in a previous moment in time. And, finally, I gravitate towards thrilling mysteries that are filled with breath-taking action and plot twists. For literary satisfaction on the last count, I am so excited to have discovered new author Jennifer Chase. Her first book, Compulsion, is a fascinating story of serial murderers, pedophiles, and the one amazing woman who is able to bring them all to justice. When a book contains these elements and is well-written, which Compulsion most certainly is, you have the recipe for an amazing read.
Author Jennifer Chase introduces us to the great character of Emily Stone. Working anonymously with her camera, computer, and trusted weapon at her constant disposal, Stone goes on the hunt for some of the most violent and deplorable criminals one can imagine. She uses her police background and natural ability to get inside the criminal mind to gather detailed, on-the-scene evidence. Then, she sends her information to the police and another villain is taken off the streets. When Stone’s identity is revealed to the latest killer on her radar screen, the fast-paced action that unfolds becomes the heart of the story and takes the reader on an amazing journey of heightened adrenaline and fear.
One of the greatest strengths in Chase’s writing is the careful unfolding of her characters’ personalities. The man known to the readers for most of Compulsion’s pages only as The Killer is first revealed through the gruesome crimes he commits. We learn of his brutal style of murder through the description of police on the scene. Further into the book, we are let into the mind of The Killer and the motivation behind his violent spree. Chase’s portrayal of a man sitting alone with his twisted thoughts brings the character into a more frightening focus. When the name and full story behind The Killer is finally revealed, the weight provided by the complete picture of this terrifying man is felt. The author employs this same development technique for her other characters, which adds an important element to the tension and sense of uncertainty. But don’t think that you are necessarily on the right track when learning more about a person in this novel. I found myself fooled by Chase’s convincing efforts to lead us down a path of assuming the guilt of an innocent person on more than one occasion.
Both the language and overall format of this book are evidence of Chase’s genuine talent in the genre of thrillers. For example, the tension and terror of the book escalates as The Killer and The Accomplice become more voracious in their need for prey. As they drive across the country with the intention of murdering Emily Stone, their need to commit violence at every step is overpowering. Readers can envision these men clenching their fists and tapping their feet with nervous energy and Chase reminds us at the close of every chapter in this climactic series of events that, “The Killers are coming.” It is a taunt that helps to create a sense of terrified anticipation. Each chapter is also quite short, often not more than three or four pages in length. This purposefully abrupt , snapshot approach jostles the reader from one event to the next, and is wonderful at generating the way that Emily Stone must feel when moving from one case to the next and not knowing who or what may be around the corner.
The new novel Compulsion by Jennifer Chase is a captivating thriller that will keep you guessing until the last page is read. The careful character development results in real, three-dimensional men and women, even if some of them are almost unimaginably horrifying. The plot, with its slowly revealed layers, is one that engages the readers immediately and takes them on quite an adventure. I was excited to read on Chase’s back cover that she is currently at work on the next book in the series. She can be certain that this new fan will be among the first to read the next installment. I believe that you, too, will find that Compulsion will leave you excited for more.
Reviewed by Sarah Moore - Writers in the Sky
A Must Read!
Emily Stone is a survivor, losing her parents to a killer at a young age she has a score to settle with killers, especially child-killers. Emily doesn't carry a badge, but she has all the latest electronics that help her to track, do surveillance, and identify many of the predators at large.
She keeps her identity a secret, not even telling the law enforcement offices that she sends her information to who she is, or how she got it. It's safer that way, or at least it was, until Emily begins to be stalked.
These stalkers are more than just cold blooded killers, they have a reason for finding and killing Emily, a reason that will shock her to the core and the reader as well. The race is on for Emily's very life as Emily desperately tries to be one step ahead of those out to kill her. Emily has hope however, hope in the form of one, Detective Rick Lopez, who is drawn to this mysterious woman and is thrown into the player part that may well save her life. What a ride.
I have to say that I read this book in one night and that is not something I usually do. The author writes in such a way that you are completely drawn into the story. The characters are so alive, the story so repulsive, yet so captivating that it urges you to continue on with a desperate need to know there is a satisfying conclusion. The mystery element is rich. I did not know who was truly after Emily until they were revealed. You would think that would relive some of the pressure of who is it that I was experiencing through the read, but it didn't, as I realized how ruthless and insane these killers were, and that they would stop at nothing to complete the drive and lust of death that was within them. Creepy.
This truly is a top-notch mystery - thriller of a read. One that has thought out characters, defined so well that you feel as if you are part of their lives, and a storyline that is mysterious, and chilling, yet delivers a personal touch that brings realism to the mix. CSI fans will love this book, as will any mystery/thriller fan, for it is definitely one that delivers. A must read!
Reviewed by Shirley Johnson, Senior Reviewer for MidWest Book Review
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