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This book hit the spot like cool glass of water on hot day. It has a well-developed story, interesting characters and just the right amount of tension in romantic relationship.

Maya for Gay Book Reviews
The last thing Jason West, ambitious FBI special agent with the Art Crimes Team wants — or needs — is his uncertain and unacknowledged romantic relationship with legendary Behavioral Analysis Unit Chief Sam Kennedy.
And it seems like Sam is unsold on the idea as well.
But personal feelings must be put aside when Sam requests Jason’s help in order to catch a deranged killer targeting wealthy, upscale art collectors.
A killer whose calling card is a series of grotesque paintings depicting the murders.

 

 

“This is the third homicide of someone involved in the art world where the unsub has left a painting in the style—general style,” he amended, apparently for Jason’s benefit, “of Monet. A painting which seems to depict the murder.”

“That painting wasn’t just dry, it was cured,” Hickok said. “That means it was painted days ago. Maybe a week ago.”

Jason’s scalp prickled with unease. He asked, “Who were the other victims?”

But he didn’t hear Sam’s answer.

His attention was caught by movement on the other side of the French doors leading onto the room’s private patio. Wind shaking the topiaries? A ghostly hand picking at the folds of a collapsed umbrella? He looked more closely, but it still took a disbelieving second or two to recognize the outline as human. A silhouette. Someone stood on the other side of the glass, watching them.

“What the hell?” Jason brushed past Sam. He reached the French doors, unlocking and throwing them open as the figure on the patio turned, shoving through the wrought-iron gate, which clanged noisily behind him.

Jason drew his weapon. “FBI. Stop right there,” he yelled.

The dark-clad figure did not stop. The gate bounced open with the force of his exit.

Jason followed, pushing through the gate, which clanged loudly again.

The figure sprinted across the terrace, past the blue oblong of the brightly lit pool, heading for the taller fence at the end of the courtyard.

Good luck with that. Did he not realize the pool terrace was a couple of stories up?

Jason called back to Sam and Hickok, who had also drawn their weapons, “He’ll have to try for the elevators. We can cut him off.”

He didn’t wait for a reply. There wasn’t time for discussion. He gave chase. In fact, it was a relief to act, to have something that required his immediate and full attention—and a relief to get away from Sam. Fueled by adrenaline, he hit the terrace running, racing across the bricks about the same time the figure in black realized his miscalculation.

He turned, keeping the lounge chairs and potted palms between himself and Jason as he traveled the length of the stone deck, making for the steps leading down to the elevators.

He—the build was definitely male—was about Jason’s height. Stocky. He wore black jeans, a black hoodie, and a backpack. The amber glow of the heater lamps illuminated glimpses of pale skin and Caucasian features.

The details provided were so exquisite they practically made the picture jump out of the book for me.

“Hold it right there,” Jason ordered, leveling his weapon as he kept pace with the suspect. Unfortunately, you could not shoot someone for spying on you, or fleeing from you, or even appearing on the scene at the very moment you were getting dumped by your sort-of-boyfriend. And anyway, Jason had no desire to shoot if it was at all possible to avoid it.

He also had no desire to be shot. Been there and done that. The suspect did not appear to be armed. He was certainly not brandishing a weapon. That didn’t mean he wasn’t carrying. That didn’t mean at any moment this unsub wouldn’t make a fast and fatal reach.

Stay alert. Stay alive. Like the old training films used to say. Jason’s heart pounded, and sweat trickled between his shoulder blades. He watched the other’s hands every second.

Lights blinked on in surrounding hotel rooms. Curtains slid back, shutters flashed wide, glass doors opened.

Shit.

Stay inside, people. And for the love of God, no posting to YouTube.

Out of his peripheral, he could see Sam already in position, blocking access to the elevators. Hickok was closing in from the other side, completing the pincer movement. This was over. The suspect just didn’t know it yet.

“You’re not going anywhere,” Jason called. “Drop the bag.”

The suspect looked to the elevators and then back at Hickok.

Jason repeated, “Drop the bag. Get on the ground.”

The suspect hesitated. Was he just stupid? Or really stupid? Did he have a weapon? Jason’s hand tightened on the Glock’s grip. Sweat prickled his hairline.

You. On the ground. Facedown on the ground.”

“Okay! Okay!” The suspect showed his palms. A blur of white. No gloves. No weapon. “I’m with the press.”

“On. The. Fucking. Ground.”

The suspect complied, dropping to his knees, still protesting. “I’m with the press. Chris Shipka. You know me.”

Maybe yes, maybe no. Still, Jason’s tension eased a fraction. Their unsub was exhibiting the right mix of alarm and indignation you’d expect from a citizen who felt he was being unjustly accused. “Arms spread to your side. Palms up.”

“Lie down and shut up.” Hickok came up behind the suspect, planting a foot in his backpack and knocking him prone. “Arms outstretched.”

“Watch my camera!”

“Don’t move a muscle, asshole.”

Shipka continued to protest as Hickok patted him down with rough efficiency.

Jason kept his pistol trained unwaveringly on Shipka. His heart was still pounding hard. But hey, compared to eight months ago? When having to pull his weapon had practically triggered an anxiety attack? Here was progress.

“He’s unarmed,” Hickok informed Jason. He yanked open Shipka’s backpack and swore. “Unless you count this.” He held up a Nikon camera in one hand and a telephoto lens in the other.

“Be careful with that! For fuck’s sake,” Shipka protested. “Haven’t you Nazis heard of freedom of the press?”

Shit. Shit. And triple shit. Speaking of YouTube videos.

Jason slowly lowered his pistol. Sam reached them, holstering his own weapon. He took in the camera Hickok held aloft and swore. “That’s just goddamned great. ID?”

Hickok pulled out a wallet, thumbed through the contents, and said morosely, “Christopher Shipka, age 35, lives in Van Nuys.” He looked up at Jason and Sam. “He’s got a press card. He works for the Valley Voice.”

“I told you.” Shipka’s muffled voice sounded incensed. “Can I get up now?”

“No. You sure as hell can’t,” Hickok snapped.

“What the hell were you doing outside that hotel room?” Jason asked.

“I followed you.” Shipka raised his head to peer at Jason. “I followed you from the museum.”

Me?” Alarm washed through Jason. “What are you talking about? You followed—you did what?” He could feel both Sam and Hickok staring at him.

“I’m the one writing those stories about you,” Shipka said. He sounded sort of sheepish and sort of defiant.

“Christ,” Hickok said. “It’s the president of your fan club.”