Tortured Dreams by Hadena James
Aislin Cain is a sociopath. She killed her first person at age eight. By her mid-twenties, she had killed three people. She had established herself intentionally as a prime victim, since she was a small woman, she could easily play the part. Once she lured the person to her, if he chose to take the bait, his fate was then in his own hands.
She set her own rules and morals because if she didn’t, she would have none. So, if she thought a stalker was following her home, she locked all the doors and windows. She didn’t want to make it easy for him to get in, after all.
So after the third attack, when she had two men waiting for her when she got back from the hospital, she wasn’t surprised – until she found out they needed her help. A serial killer was using medieval torture methods to kill his victims; she has a doctorate in medieval history and knows all about medieval torture. She would be the ideal person to assist in the investigation.
Aislin Cain is hired by a team of Special Marshalls, none whom could pass the psych eval. The team leader is the only member who didn’t get along with all the others. He didn’t like women, especially intelligent women who don’t take orders well and who could defend themselves.
The other team members all have their special skills and their special social issues. All interact well with one another. In addition, Aislin can bring to the team her best friend, who is a psychopath and her cousin, an attorney. Both would do anything for her and she would do anything for them.
Hadena James has managed to create an interesting cast of characters in a serial killer read that was full of interesting plot twists and twisted relationships. The research was well-done and crafted with an eye toward interesting details that make it clear some time and effort was put into the weapons portion of the novel.
It’s always refreshing to have great research in a book, especially when the book has more than one area of research that shows some degree of knowledge. James is a writer to follow, with this particular series bringing something intriguing to the mystery genre.