Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff is a thriller of my favorite kind. I love serial killers, but Alexandra takes me to an even better place. We have a female serial killer.
The beautiful cover makes me feel a sense of danger and I can hardly wait to get on the road.
Cover: Braun Haus Media, LLC / Photo: Lilkar
I am salivating at the thought of diving into Huntress Moon, a thriller with a female serial killer. I love to read about serial killers, but a female one is very rare. I am ready to be wowed.
FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke’s spidey senses were tingling. Is it intuition, a cop’s experience honed to pick up subtle vibes, or something more?
He was meeting an undercover agent when he saw her. She stood out…reeked of danger…and as the pieces come together, he is hot on her trail.
Roarke could’ve run the division, but he preferred the autonomy of choosing his own cases, running his own investigations. His work is his life.
Life comes full circle for Roarke and I see why he is drawn to her. I am drawn to her.
She is damaged, in a way that makes me want ‘normal’ for her. But it can’t be. Is she a good killer? A bad killer? Is there such a thing as a good one? Does she save lives even as she takes them? I am ambivalent, seesawing back and forth…
My feelings are all over the place. I am not a black and white, good and bad type of person. I feel a lot of life is filled with gray areas. But, I do have lines that define right and wrong. My big problem is…I love the villain.
The creative approach that Alexandra Sokoloff took with the storyline had this playing out in my mind like a movie script. I was continually amazed at the killers boldness and ability to hide in plain sight. But…we know that can’t go on forever.
I worry for the father and the boy. How callous and cruel is she? How far will she go?
The feeling of doom hangs over me, I fear for their lives. After all, she is a serial killer and will do whatever is necessary to get away.
I love a great villain but what happens when the villain is the victim? Of course aren’t all criminals victims, or they wouldn’t be so damaged to begin with. Their past does not excuse their present. I can’t see how this will end in a way I want, because I’m rooting for her.
How long can she go on? When will Roarke catch her, because we know he has to…
I never guessed it. I love it and I hate it! I must have more.
AND…you will need the next book.
I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Huntress Moon by 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.
“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 tiny 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.”
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.
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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!