- Author: Robert Bryndza
- Published: April 2017 by Bookouture
- Category: Crime, Serial Killer, Police Procedural, Book Review, Reading
He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.
When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.
Detective Chief Inspector Erica Foster is not happy. She hates being stuck behind a desk writing reports, and has been refused her requested transfer to the Murder Investigation Team. She and former colleague, Detective James Peterson, are in a tentative relationship and were together when a call came through to Peterson about a body found in a dumpster. Erika can’t resist taking the initiative and is soon involved in the investigation.
It’s not long before Erika connects this murder to a previous unsolved case, the victim has identical wounds and the same signs of torture. Both girls had arranged to meet someone they became friendly with online. The story revolves around the downside of social media, specifically Facebook. The killer uses it to draw in his victims and get to know their movements, personal details and friends as he stalks them online using a false identity. A stark reminder that sometimes we really don’t know who is behind the Facebook profile.
From past investigations, Erika knew how much fate played its part in murder cases. If the victim had left the bar ten minutes later, or remembered to lock the car door, or taken a slightly different route, they would still be alive.
She pulled herself away from the window and took a shower, standing under the hot water for a long time. She wondered how many times her twenty-two-year-old self had narrowly avoided death. How many times might she have passed a predator waiting in the shadows, who reached out to grab her, but only just missed.
Erika is brought in as Senior Investigating Officer and gathers the original team around her and with a new member the dynamics and chemistry work well. It’s far from a smooth transition for Erika however, taking into account the reason for her transfer and the in-house politics muddying the water.
Chapters are short and sharp, some from the killer’s warped perspective, which keeps up the pace. He’s a psychopathic individual and becomes known to the reader fairly early on in the narrative. Although the plot is still full of tension, despite knowing the perpetrator, the heart of the story is the character development. Erika’s character is showing marked development with vulnerability and survivor guilt surfacing as the relationships Moss and Peterson become more friendly and personal. She still retains her impulsiveness and forthright manner though, and the dogged determination to solve the case.
The investigation procedures are realistic, with the murder team following information which seems plausible at the time, only to find it leads nowhere. Time is of the essence as another abduction has taken place and the false leads aren’t helping. Eventually connections are made and Erika and her team can only hope they will be in time.
I chose to read and review Last Breath based on a digital copy of the book supplied by NetGalley and the author/publisher.
About Robert Bryndza
The Night Stalker, and Dark Water are the second and third books in the series, and the fourth book, Last Breath, has just been published.
Robert’s books have sold over 1.7 million copies and have been translated into 26 languages.
In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.