By PJ Adams
Two knife wounds–one to the groin, one to the hand impaling him to the desk–suggested somebody definitely wanted the guy dead. In this Amanda Carlisle
Mystery set in posh Del Mar, California, empath Amanda Carlisle and detective Nick Caswell find themselves in a race with a nearly invisible psychopath.
When Amanda mind-walks the killer, she discovers a complex Freudian psychosis that may be the key to the crime. Unbeknownst to her, that psychotic mind
has decided Amanda will be next. It will take Nick’s hardboiled sleuthing and Amanda’s deciphering the victim’s cryptic clues to catch the killer in gorgeous
surf-meets-turf Del Mar–where the ponies race and a psychopath is on the run.
I got this book on kindle a couple years ago, but I hadn’t gotten around to reading it yet. I finally started it two days ago, and I literally couldn’t stop reading it. Amanda, the therapist with a unique gift of empathy, Nick the tough detective who won’t stop till he uncovers the truth. Together, they are a fantastic duo. Amanda has the understanding of the psychological elements and people in the counseling practice, and Nick knows how to read the clues. There’s enough delving into psychology theory and practice to keep it interesting but not so much as to overwhelm the average reader.
I began to guess who the killer was about halfway through the story, but I didn’t guess the complete reason why and I didn’t put together all the aspects of who and why. There were good guys and bad guys and not-so-nice guys, a great blend of real humanity. The danger Amanda experiences was well done without being so constant and edge of your seat, which would have made me enjoy the book less. I liked the blend of the intellectual process of figuring it out for both main characters with the danger element keeping me and the heroes on our toes, not letting us relax or become too complacent.
Nick and Amanda are likable characters. There is attraction between them, but that isn’t the focus of the story and they don’t fall into bed together every time you turn around. They are committed to figuring out the mystery, and their attraction will have to wait for another day. I liked that about this book very much. And I liked these characters very much.
The setting is the San Diego area. I lived in San Diego for most of the nineties, and reading about places and sites with which I am familiar brought back fond memories and made me smile. Horton Plaza, La Jolla, Del Mar, UC mall, all of it here and more, making me want to take a trip back and visit some old haunts.
There isn’t too much excessive violence. The murder is gruesome and some of the details can be a bit disturbing, but other than that, it was a comfortable read for me, not overly violent, not loaded with sex scene after sex scene—though there is a sexual element to the plot which I can’t describe without spoiling the story. Two great characters, a great setting and an engrossing mystery. How much better can it get?
I looked on amazon for more books featuring Amanda and Nick, hoping this was the first book in a series, but it doesn’t seem to be. If there should be a sequel, I would definitely read the next one. I would give this four out of five stars, mostly because I started to figure out the culprit too soon and because I would have liked more explanation of what might have caused the situation with the killer and why that person became what they became. Other than that, I loved it.