Romantic Suspense does not get any better than the imitable Debra Webb's Faces of Evil series. The primary reason that this series succeeds is that Ms. Webb manages to combine action-packed plots with character driven ones, no easy feat. There are recurring characters coping with their flaws, personal growth, and intimate relationships at the same time that they are dealing with murder and mayhem.
The main characters, Jess Harris and Dan Burnett, were lovers twenty years ago. Jess, a former FBI profiler, returns home to Birmingham, principally, to escape serial killer, Eric Spears, who is obsessed with her.
After assisting him on a case, Dan, the Birmingham Chief of Police, offers her a position as deputy chief of the new Major Crimes unit of the Department, and she accepts. Dan becomes her lover as well as her boss.
Jess is an acutely intelligent, independent, and driven heroine determined to do things her own way, even if they are outside of police protocol and, conveniently, unknown to Dan.
In her three weeks home, Jess has lead the investigations of one heinous crime after the other. But nothing prepares Jess for the gruesome murder scene of Gabrielle Grayson, wife of Police Lt. Lawrence Grayson. Mrs. Grayson had been beheaded and stabbed numerous times while her baby slept in his crib down the hall.
There is no shortage of potential suspects, someone seeking vengeance against Lt. Grayson, the fixated serial killer who continues to send threatening text messages to Jess, the drug gang which has beheaded two people for moving in on its territory, the Graysons's pool guy and, always the number one suspect when a spouse is killed, her husband.
As the investigation progresses, Jess discovers that her only witness may be Devon, an eight year old autistic boy, who lives next door to the Graysons. Just as she closes in on this lead, Devon goes missing and Jess suspects foul play.
Focusing on the rage required to commit such a murder, Jess realizes that to solve the murder, she must find who hated Gabrielle Grayson enough to kill her in such a diabolical manner.
Ms. Webb smoothly weaves the personal lives of the characters into the story. While Dan and Jess are working on the case, they learn more about each other and try to accommodate, to the extent that they are able, the other's needs. Dan tries to be less protective, or at least not show it. Jess shows Dan a vulnerability that belies her tough exterior. Just as things seem to be working out for them, Jess's ex-husband arrives from California clearly intent on winning Jess back. Who will she choose?
There is sufficient deceit, betrayal, unknown killers, and twists to keep the reader captivated.
Rage is the fourth book in this series. While it is a stand-alone read, the reader may prefer reading the predecessors, Obsession, Impulse, and Power, before Rage. I guarantee that if you read Rage first, you will go back and read the earlier books.
I highly recommend Rage, and the other books in the Faces of Evil series, to any reader who genuinely enjoys Romantic Suspense, that is, a balance between the two genres.show more
by Marijane Diodati