Review: “Next Victim,” Michael Prescott

Pros: Some nice unusual tidbits
Cons: Other not-so-surprising parts
Rating: 4 out of 5

Michael Prescott’s Next Victim (Tess McCallum & Abby Sinclair Book 2) involves a serial killer from previous times (Mobius) and a new terror plot. Tess McCallum manages to worm her way onto the task force with some difficulty. Most of the characters she meets there have dimension and interest. Naturally there’s the one who thinks he’s God’s gift to women and who will happily mess with Tess’s job and reputation when she doesn’t return his interest.

What fascinates me is how the terrorism plot is deftly woven together with the serial killer plot, and how they affect each other. Both are hot topics in crime fiction right now, so figuring out how to join them together ought to make readers happy! I love that the woman delivering the terrorism materials is smart but has a blind spot. I also love how Mobius, instead of being mechanically repetitive in his actions, works new and interesting information into his plans. Most depicted serial killers are notoriously bad about accepting and handling change.

Most of the characters have dimension and personality, from the police to the feds to the people introduced along the way. I love that the Mobius plot has so much more to it than the standard repeated crime scenario. When he finds out about the terrorism plot his plans change drastically. I also like the fact that while he takes an interest in Tess’s attempts to catch him, he isn’t obsessed in the creepy manner that fictional serial killers often take on. It’s a different sort of protagonist fixation; it really works and makes things that much more interesting.

There’s plenty of suspense in this book. It might have helped to read book one first, but I didn’t feel particularly lost in reading Next Victim first. The pacing is nicely varied, ratcheting up as the stakes grow.

Content warning: there are some semi-disturbing scenes in here, so, not for children. (That should be obvious when you’re talking serial killer plots, though.)

I would definitely read more by Prescott, and more books starring McCallum.

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