A Rare Miss

Once Gone (Riley Paige Mystery, #1)Once Gone by Blake Pierce
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

From the publisher: “Women are turning up dead in the rural outskirts of Virginia, killed in grotesque ways, and when the FBI is called in, they are stumped. A serial killer is out there, his frequency increasing, and they know there is only one agent good enough to crack this case: Special Agent Riley Paige.

Riley is on paid leave herself, recovering from her encounter with her last serial killer, and, fragile as she is, the FBI is reluctant to tap her brilliant mind. Yet Riley, needing to battle her own demons, comes on board, and her hunt leads her through the disturbing subculture of doll collectors, into the homes of broken families, and into the darkest canals of the killer’s mind. As Riley peels back the layers, she realizes she is up against a killer more twisted than she could have imagined. In a frantic race against time, she finds herself pushed to her limit, her job on the line, her own family in danger, and her fragile psyche collapsing.

Yet once Riley Paige takes on a case, she will not quit. It obsesses her, leading her to the darkest corners of her own mind, blurring the lines between hunter and hunted. After a series of unexpected twists, her instincts lead her to a shocking climax that even Riley could not have imagined.

A dark psychological thriller with heart-pounding suspense, ONCE GONE marks the debut of a riveting new series—and a beloved new character—that will leave you turning pages late into the night.”

I don’t spend a lot of time writing about books that didn’t work for me. I much prefer to spend my time with books I like. But once in awhile, it’s important to jot down the things I didn’t care for about a title to remind myself.

I was very excited when I came across this book on Kindle Unlimited. I enjoy reading about serial killers and hunting them and here was a new series that could offer me some new stories. But alas, this one had an interesting premise, but fell short in a lot of ways for me.

I did not believe Riley as a person. She is described as very smart and a great agent and perfect at so many things, but then her actions and thoughts and words do not display any of that. Sure, she can maybe see things from a killer’s point of view, but even those flashes were not enough to convince me she was anywhere near as amazing as advertised.

One of the problems with this book may have been its length. At just about 200 pages, it was too short to build up the profile and fill in the characterizations I wanted. There was not enough time to get into the head of the killer or the good guys. It felt superficial and rushed. The cliff-hanger ending was intriguing…

I will not be actively seeking out the further titles in this series, but seeing as the author is prolific, perhaps I will give another series a try.

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