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review 2016-10-24 15:36
Huntress Moon / Alexandra Sokoloff
Huntress Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can’t believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of “accidents” and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.

Roarke’s hunt for her takes him across three states...while in a small coastal town, a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach and strike up an unlikely friendship without realizing how deadly she may be.

As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.

 

 

Santa Muerte, that was good!

This book is a perfect example for me of the role of timing in whether I enjoy a book or not. I tried to read Huntress Moon earlier in the month, but I went into it with an “urban fantasy” mindset, expecting something a bit on the lightish side, something with a bit of humour. If that is what you want, this is not the droid you are looking for. There are a few fantastical elements, but I wouldn’t characterize it as urban fantasy at all.

This is an intense drama of an FBI agent in search of a serial killer. We even know who the killer is, so the tension develops mostly from the “can Matthew Roarke put the pieces together” question, as well as determining the motive of our killer. When I returned to HM with no particular expectations, this story grabbed me by the collar and made me pay attention. Roarke is a former member of the Bureau’s Behavioral Sciences unit, fighting with his own history as he struggles to get a handle on this case.

Recommended for fans of the Criminal Minds television show or of FBI/BAU nonfiction.

Read to fill the Full Moon square of my 2016 Halloween Book Bingo card.

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review 2015-08-09 08:50
Brutal. Heartrending. Totally Freakin' Amazing!!!!
Cold Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers) - Alexandra Sokoloff

“Josephine Butler (1828-1907) writes in her journals, pamphlets and diaries of the second half of the nineteenth century about seeing thousands (yes, thousands) of little girls, some as young as four or five, in the illegal brothels of London, Paris, Brussels, and Geneva. …The children had a life expectancy of two years, yet the brothel owners, frequently women, seemed to have an unlimited supply…. ‘Clean’ children, who were free from venereal disease, commanded a high price.” ― Jennifer Worth

 

“. . . outright abduction of children and teens was more and more common, ever since gangs had caught on to the fact that selling kids was more lucrative than selling drugs and carried lighter criminal penalties.” – Rachel Elliott, Cold Moon

 

Cara Lindstrom is a legend. Victim of a horrific, borderline mythic crime of unimaginable violence. Five years old, her throat slashed, her family dead, her mind shattered. Five years old when IT came to call. The monster. The Beast. IT. Twenty-five men, women and children slaughtered. Only Cara lived.

 

Jailed at twelve, payback for fighting off the counselor in the group home she had been shuttled into most recently. The counselor who meant to rape her while the thirteen-year-old facility bully held her down. And now, Cara is locked up in Los Angeles County Women’s #8. Locked up, where male sexual predators dressed as guards are free to rape and torture those in their care. “Other countries prohibited the overseeing of female prisoners by male guards, but US laws put its incarcerated women in constant physical jeopardy in the name of equal opportunity employment.”

 

Cara is jailed for the suspected murder of a pimp who ran underage girls in the sewers of Los Angeles. Jailed, with no possibility of bail, after rescuing twenty-two young girls from a life of sexual slavery in the good old US of A. After rescuing the head FBI agent on her case from death at the hands of The Reaper, the same sadistic monster who attacked Cara and killed her family, and so many others.

 

Thirty-two-billion dollars a year. Two and a half million children and young girls, some as young as five, sold into sexual slavery, locked up twenty-four hours a day, servicing an average of twenty men a day. Their jailers walking free, their rapists walking free. While Cara sits in a cell.

 

To the girls and young women she saves, Cara is “the Eighth Archangel”, “The Santa Muerte of the Seven Powers”, “The Lady of the Shadows”. Lady Death. Patron saint of the incarcerated and the poor, those who suffer on the fringes of society, the downtrodden and hopeless, the ill and the dying.

 

Lady Death came to Marisol, the tinyLa Santa Muerte by angelero girl locked in the belly of a cement mixer and carried with twenty-one other girls across the border, two dying en-route from abuse, hunger, dehydration. The Lady came, snatching Marisol from under the body of the trafficker who meant to rape the baby girl. . . Santa Muerte, the savior of young girls destined for brutal lives, and more brutal deaths. Their Savior – their Savior, who actually sees the monster inside the men that IT takes for Its own.

 

“. . . years of looking into the depths. Of a beat that hides behind the masks of ordinary faces: fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands, random men on the street . . . and the mothers and grandmother who turned a blind eye to the abuse.”

 

Why is Cara in jail? Because she doesn’t carry a badge.

 

It isn’t ‘politically correct’ to call them prostitutes any more. “Commercially sexually exploited youth.” Let’s call a spade a spade. Child victims of men with no souls, no hearts, brutal monsters who take what they want, pay their fee, and go back to their wives and children, their pretty little houses and pretty little lives. Cara means to save as many of the as she can. And Santa Muerte? Her followers gather. . .

 

Tortured, convoluted. Alexandra Sokoloff’s Huntress series has been both horribly painful and deeply rewarding. Huntress Moon introduced us to Cara and to her opposite number, Matt Roarke – FBI Special Agent and hunter of monsters of the human kind. Brilliantly crafted, with an almost dreamlike feel, well-written and well-researched, the first book captured me and led me straight into Blood Moon.

 

“You can never kill them all,” she whispered. “They keep coming back.”

 

Roarke still tracks Cara Lindstrom – the woman who, as a child, drew him to FBI Profiling– the woman who changed his life with the very fact of her own.

 

“Twenty-five girls to a block, locked in the rooms and drugged to the gills, servicing twenty-five to forty men a day, twelve hours a day, seven days a week.”

 

Free them.

 

Free them.

 

Roarke seeks “Justice” – but is it justice, truly, to capture Santa Muerte?

 

This third installment is just as painful, just as mind-blowing, just as fulfilling, as each of the previous books. If you haven’t read the first two – DO. Your life will never be the same. Then? Go out and do something about it.

 

“There are moments when even to the sober eye of reason, the world of our sad humanity may assume the semblance of Hell.” ― Edgar Allan Poe

 

I received Cold Moon from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. This series is, in a word, amazing.

 

If you enjoyed my review, I would appreciate a “Like” for my Amazon review. It helps draw attention to my reviews, which helps the authors whom I review. Thank you!

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2015-06-04 21:23
Cold Moon - Review.
Cold Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers) - Alexandra Sokoloff

Words really can't express how much I'm enjoying this series - seriously addictive, most terrific storytelling and a real dark side that appeals.

So this is the third novel to feature the serial killer who isn't, Cara Lindstrom and her befuddled would be captor Agent Roarke. In this instalment Cara is in jail but of course this is Cara we are talking about so how long she is likely to be there remains to be seen. Roarke meanwhile still fights his inner demons and considers crossing some more lines as he heads into another emotive case.

Cold Moon delves yet deeper into the underbelly of society, dealing as it does with the world of pimps, child prostitution and kidnapping - Alexandra Sokoloff has a real feel for her subject matter, a depth of perception that comes across so well in the thoughts and actions of her characters and the consequences that follow. As I said in my review of book 2, redefining the serial killer genre is no easy task, to do it as well as sending a strong moral message is even harder and yet that is exactly what happens within the narrative of all the huntress/FBI Thrillers.

There is also a beautifully constructed mythology developing here just below the surface of obvious - most especially within Cara's view of the world and her redefining of evil. What it is, what it means. She is the very definition of a strong female lead - yet she is not the heroine. Or is she? Therein lies the real addictive quality of this series - almost every character walks a very fine line.

I honestly think these are superb. Getting better if anything with each new story, I am utterly entranced by this world and the people in it - authentic and downright scary if you think too deeply about it,I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Happy Reading Folks!

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review 2015-05-24 12:01
Blood Moon - Review
Blood Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers) - Alexandra Sokoloff

**Author provided review copy**

 

I'm making this fairly brief mainly because I have book 3 lined up on my Kindle ready to go. I'm addicted!

This series has, so far, been totally brilliant. Huntress Moon, pitch perfect part one, set us up for Blood Moon which is simply superb - a rollicking roller coaster ride of a novel with some hugely compelling characters and a story arc that will leave you breathless.

Redefining the serial killer thriller is no easy task believe me, I've seen it all over the years, but with the Huntress/FBI Thrillers Alexandra Sokoloff has done just that - creating in Cara Lindstrom a killer like no other - she is intensely fascinating, completely believable and absolutely sympathetic.

Her "relationship" with Roarke, our man at the FBI is gorgeously complex, beautifully captivating and a huge strength of the series - it draws you in, makes you pause for thought and is so riveting that you will barely glance up from the page.

Add to that a fast paced and highly intriguing mystery element in the cases surrounding these two and you really do have a unique addition to the crime genre, one that I would highly recommend.

Happy Reading Folks!

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review 2015-05-22 05:59
The book that got me thinking about Feminism and Serial Killers
Huntress Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

Brief recap - FBI agent Roarke unwittingly gets involved in murder investigation as a result of seeing an undercover agent killed in broad daylight. Initially thought to be a hit-job, he finds himself chasing a serial killer. We also get some one on one time with the alleged serial killer, a woman who favors turtlenecks to cover her past. The book follows a basic procedural format until Roarke has an aha moment where he realizes that this turtleneck loving woman may not be a hired assassin or mafia, but may actually be a serial killer.

Probably not the intent of the author, but this book took me off on tangents related to what is or isn't serial killing and sent me examining the role of gender when it comes to serial killers. Well, I'll be darned if I just opened up a pandora's box of opinions.

The author's take through the main character Roarke:

...female multiple-murderers fell overwhelmingly into two types: the "Angel of Death," almost always a medical or health care professional who killed patients as the ultimate control, ore even in some twisted desired to end their miser, or the "Black Widow," a women who married or mated wit the intention of killing her spouse or lover for his or her savings or insurance money.

Serial killing was a completely separate psychology, more accurately known as sexual homicide. As with rape, the motive was sexual gratification by violence, often, accompanied by sadism. And women didn't do it.



So here we have the stipulation that serial killing technically tied to the motive which must be sexual in nature. Perhaps this is an important technical distinction, but it feels a bit sexist to me. Now now young lady, you don't want to be part of that big bad serial killer club, you just did what a troubled mis-programmed female would do when you killed all those men/babies/competing women. Given that the author is a woman, I don't think this is blatant misogyny, so before I get all ragey about this, I figured I would consult two experts. The FBI (for obvious reasons) and my ex-husband (cause he's obsessed with serial killers).

The FBI BAU published a nice booklet called Serial Murder Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators (why they didn't add "true crime enthusiasts" to the the intended audience?). Among other things, it states that serial killers are not defined by motivation. Ok good, they are equal opportunity profilers, and that seems to contradict the author's premise. The publication goes on to say that one of the myths about serial killers is that they are white males. This assertion is followed up by a list of 5 non-white MALES who are serial killers. Two steps forward, one step back.
http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/pub...

My ex-husband is obsessed with serial killers. If you see me reading anything about psychopaths or true crime stories, he is probably involved in some way. So I asked him about the popular belief that women are rarely if ever serial killers. He is really focused on the foibles and missteps during investigation, and didn't have much to say about gender other than serial killers are not necessarily sexually motivated. He was really happy about the link to the FBI publication that I sent.

Oh I digress, let me get back to the book... One facet of the story is that agent Roarke is a former criminal profiler. He left his position in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit because, well, apparently delving into the minds of a killers can be stressful. Roarke has demons, and I feel like this was an important angle that could have been explored a bit more. There is also an interesting connection between Roarke and Cara which cannot be forgotten. Given that this is the first in a trilogy, I am not spoiling anything by saying that there is more to explore the inner workings of Roarke, Cara and their connection.

Audiobook comments - (I received a free copy from an AudiobookBlast promo in exchange for an honest review). This was my first listen with R. C. Bray as narrator. He comes highly acclaimed and I thought he did a good job. There was one instance where his interpretation of Roarke's emotions really came though, and I only wish there has been more of that. Production quality as good and I would definitely check out the next in the series. There is a Kindle/Whispersync deal where you can get the audio for only $0.99 when you purchase the $3.99 kindle book. If this sort of thing is your cup of tea, you can't beat the deal.

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