Insidious: Catherine Coulter
Greed, power, jealousies and deceitful measures can often take over the path of someone who wants it all, wants to be recognized and will go to any lengths to get what he/she wants even if it means taking the life of someone else. Venus Rasmussen lives in a mansion in Washington and is the owner of a multi-million dollar corporation with many branches. But, Venus is in her eighties and quite astute and feeling ill at times with stomach issues. Although the doctor claims it might be bad food it is too coincidental that this happens every time she is out to dinner or dining with certain family members. FBI agents Savich and Sherlock take the spotlight in this outstanding mystery/thriller when they come to her aid, realize that she is not making it up and that the fact she claims to have been poisoned rings true. Taking down her statement, alerting a specific lab that samples needed to be taken to verify her accusations, Savich and Sherlock embark on the quest to find just who wants it all. But, when leaving the mansion and getting a phone call they hear shots coming from the mansion as someone is impatient and wants Venus out of the way before she is ready to leave this earth. Shooting her with her driver blocking the way and taking action she is saved. Just who wants her out of the way and who in her family might be responsible as author Catherine Coulter introduces us to a cast of colorful family characters. Alexander her grandson has much to be desired and has a personality most of us would prefer avoiding. Veronica is her constant guard and companion as Isabel cares for her other needs. Each family member has his/her own story and when Robert shows up after a ten-year absence words fly, insults are hurled and you begin to wonder why Venus even bothers with any of them including her son, Guthrie. But, this novel has a second complex plot. There is someone out there targeting young actresses in the middle of the night. The Serial as he has been called or the Starlet Slasher, has killed five and then another young woman as FBI Special Agent Cam Wittier is frustrated and angry that another murder happened on her watch. Making sure that no one has any way of learning what calls the victims made or emails the killer steals their cell phones and laptops leaving the FBI and police wondering why and what links all of these murders together. Each victim is known by someone close to Cam including her new roommate and her parents who are both in the acting field and quite well known. Each story carries its own descriptions and special suspense as we hope to learn the identity of the killer. But, a twist of fate changes it all as the man who tried to kill Venus is caught, in the hospital and someone manages to take out the guard with a shot of something in his neck and then takes out Vincent Wilig the killer. Getting to know Cam she is smart, sharp, knows how to take down anyone in her way and at the same time can disarm someone that is hostile.
Venus welcomes her nephew back into the fold much to the chagrin of her other grandchildren. Powerful, smart and wondering who might profit from her death it is hard to believe that someone in her family might be that greedy but why? At the same time Cam Wittier and Detective Daniel Montoya need to find the Starlet Slasher before another victim falls prey to his knife. Insidious: someone who is treacherous, deceitful and has a plan to entrap others without their knowledge. Smart enough to blindside everyone and hoping never to get caught. When things come to a boil or head just who is operating or proceeding in an Inconspicuous or what appears to be a harmless way but the end result will be grave. Like a disease that is taking away the body, skin, health, life of someone in such a way they hardly notice it as this killer just might be hiding in plain sight.
As Daniel and Cam question Missy they learn more about what each actress kept logged on their phones and laptops hoping to gather some information that might lead them to a killer. Just what is the connection and why did Missy have the same names for agencies and friends as Deborah the latest victim? Only author Catherine Coulter can weave two plots so expertly into a mosaic or tapestry with many individual tiles or squares each one with their own specific picture of one of the crime scenes and the links that might join them together into one large mural.
Marisa Gay is Robbie’s girlfriend who is a famous artist. So, why does she get all-defensive when questioned by Savich and Sherlock. Their next stop is Theodore Markham a producer and director who seems bent on making himself more important than he is yet stating that now that Deborah is gone he will have to replace her with someone who looks like her. Added in we hear the voice of the man who tried to break into Molly’s house, cut the window but came face to face with the killer and now Marty Sallas is running for his life. His Princess gone at the hand of someone else. Each of the young girls is killed the same way their throats slit. As Savich and Sherlock hunt one killer, Cam and Daniel hunt another but can they both be related in some way and how will author Catherine Coulter keep both plots going at a fast paced and keep readers able to follow them both until the startling and explosive finish? Only Catherine Coulter can do this and she has yet to reveal the killer or killers and there are many more twists, turns and surprises before the reveals are made.
Cam and Daniel work the one case while Savich and Sherlock the other and we learn a lot about Markham, more about his relationship with Connie as an actress and possibly more as he recounts a party from six months prior to this interview and seems to recall each detail as both Cam and Daniel arrive at Missy’s to find Deborah’s boyfriend there too. Going through her written documents and chronological accounts of her work schedule, interviews and more they hope to match it up with Missy’s and perhaps come up with the common denominator for all six.
Then another actress is targeted named like the icon from the past Gloria Swanson but this time the killer does not succeed. When Detective Arturo Loomis joins the team and explains his findings about Deborah’s boyfriend they call Doc, it’s quite clear that he lied about where he was the night she was killed and did someone else find out about it and how? With Gloria tucked away at Cam’s parent’s house and the investigation full bloom the scenes between Missy and Daniel add some humor to the seriousness of the situation. Alexander lawyered up. Missy’s stalker caught and questioned and taken down by Cam and Missy in another scene that is priceless and proves that two women can take down a man without any help from a burly guy, author Catherine Coulter is about the set the stage allow the actors to take their places as the final curtain is lifted to reveal the killer or killers allowing them to take their final bows.
As the pieces of the tapestry fit together and the suspects are all in one place Venus calls for someone and what happens at this final family encounter will stun readers. Just who was behind the arsenic and why? Who teamed up with someone else in order to get what he or she thought they could scam? What happens when Rob decides he loves another girl named Delsey and someone pushes her out into traffic? Deceits, deceptions, lies, planned murder, and an ending that will shock readers to the core. Insidious: an act in this case and arsenic that is slowly and secretly and methodically causing harm to Venus and another strand when planting rumors and lies that no one seems to listen to until someone like Alexander’s reputation is destroyed because
Just who murdered the six women and who else was going to pay? Who was behind it and why? Sometimes the best laid plans can backfire when you are dealing with Savich and Sherlock and now Cam and Daniel an unbeatable team who risked it all in order to stop plans that were more than just dangerous but Insidiously executed. An ending that will chill you to the bone, heat up the night and find several in danger and dealing with a psychopathic killer but who and why? You will only learn the answers to these questions and what is next for our dynamic duo and their new team of Cam and Daniel if you read Insidious and find out for yourself.
This is one five star mystery you don’t want to miss and it will take you on a deadly collision course until the very end.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine