Troubled homicide detective Gabriel McRay confronts his nemesis Victor Archwood at the killer’s trial. A surprise twist during the proceedings sets a course for Archwood to claim his ultimate revenge on the detective, whom he blames for ruining his life. In a trap that combines Archwood’s theatrical skills and criminal genius, Gabriel is forced to face his psychological demons once again and play a deadly cat and mouse game with a murderous opponent who will stop at nothing to achieve the detective’s total destruction.
(This book is currently in negotiations with several publishers and publication date is not yet determined.)
Detective Gabriel McRay, wow. He's no choir boy. He's been in trouble for using too much force while on the force. He's been unable to return to work until given the psychological ok. During that interlude, he uncovers a buried memory of childhood sexual abuse by a neighbor, who threatened Gabriel's family if he told. So, to compensate for a childhood over which he had no control, the detective tips the scale in the opposite direction and imposes control on others, creating an unfortunate cycle.
Enter Victor Archwood, a serial killer. Victor has been told for most of his life by his mother that Gabriel, who babysat for the family on occasion, had sexually abused him, which is supposedly what led to Victor's predilictions when he got older. (In actuality, the offender in that case was not Gabriel.)
Due to another bit of wrong doing on the part of Gabriel's partner, Victor's convictions are overturned, and he becomes a free man. Free to sue the city, free to reap the rewards of the famous instead of the infamous, free to kill again. And guess who he wants to mess with the most?
The Mask of Midnight is nothing short of astounding. A psychological thriller of the first caliber, I had to remind myself on more than one occasion to breathe. Victor Archwood reminded me of Hannibal Lecter - cold, calculating, manipulative, and capable of doing horribly disgusting things to people with sharp object while appearing perfectly calm. Just thinking about it now gives me the shivers, and it has been some days since reading the book.
When you read Stevens' The Mask of Midnight, do yourself a favor and read it in the daytime...in a secure location where no one can sneak up on you.
Laurie Stevens is the author of the best-selling Gabriel McRay psychological thrillers. The two books so far in the series, The Dark Before Dawn and Deep into Dusk have won 9 awards, among them Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011 and the 2014 IPPY for Best Mystery/Thriller. Laurie is a “hybrid” author, having self-published her books, finding an agent for worldwide rights, and then selling her books to Random House, Germany.
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(Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the author via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)