Look Behind You: Iris and Roy Johansen
Amanda Robinson went out with some friends for an evening of fun. Calling Uber to pick her up what she did not expect was that the original driver was not the man who opened the door to the cab and ended her life. Things spiral even further out of control when the murder is revealed, the carnage shown and the police have to deal with a manhunt that will go back many years. Thinking that this is more than one serial killer authors Iris and Roy Johansen set a trap for readers to hopefully not fall into when they learn that not three but 26 people died at the hand of someone who calls himself Zachary.
Kendra Michaels is meeting with a young mother and her son who has withdrawn from speaking and communicating since losing his father. Using music therapy and her own brand of trying to connect with Ryan she hopes to bring him back to communicating but her first attempt not a failure but not a total success.
While working with Ryan two people come through her door and when she’s done his mother informs her that they were there. Finding out later that it is Agents Roland Metcalf and Gina Carson there to present her with her next case. Needing her at the crime scene is imperative to their solving the case as she sees things that no one else can see. The smallest detail does not go unnoticed but Kendra wants to opt out of this one and it takes a lot of persuasion, favors called in and when meeting Agent Carson she immediately dislikes her and when touching her hand she notices something odd. Getting involved in this case was not what she wanted to do when hoping to help Ryan. Viewing the scene she picks up clues that the police and FBI do not see but as she can’t wait to leave she sees something under the chair placed by the killer. At this crime scene the killer leaves mementos from previous ones which as the next door bodies rise the count to three will alert her and the police that these trophies or remembrances were from past cases gone cold. As the next victim Todd a hunky sports athlete is supposed to meet his girlfriend for dinner and when he doesn’t show up she comes to his apartment and the last thing she hears is LOOK BEHIND YOU before seeing a sight she will never forget. Things escalate even more when the killer decides to enter the apartment of Kendra’s best friend Olivia. Thinking because she is blind she won’t realize that things are moved around, she did. Calling Kendra and realizing that he was there the message on her computer is terrifying and lets Kendra know she is the prime target. She and Olivia have been friends forever and the FBI might be able to get something but not much. Zachary raised Todd’s phone with the other hand and he silently snapped a photo of young Anissa through the crack in the door, raising his long blade as she yelled Todd. Todd was holding his breath because if he let her know he was there she would be dead too. A charred face and a mutilated body and Kendra wanted to see the files for the other two cases hoping to link them. One thing is similar and that is both women that were killed had the same lipstick placed on their lips. This was a start but the killer is stalking innocent victims and as the case gets stranger and the FBI decides to create what they call a dream team of detectives hoping that they will solve the case as a unit, something happens that lets readers know that might not be the case. In between the authors taunt Kendra with Adam Lynch’s phone calls from China and letting her know that he was keeping an eye on her even far away. On assignment and out of the country he’s worried about Kendra and shows up unwanted so she says.
Metcaff only wanted Kendra on the case and things spiral so far out of control that she feels she needs to distance herself from what she has been witnessing. Dealing with the dream team she meets many FBI agents and Special agents of different backgrounds. One young guy who is fixated with death and wants her take on her past cases and she blows him off. Some like Richard Gale are arrogant and others like Arnold Huston more experienced and easier to deal with. Within San Diego there is a serial killer but the mysterious part is that this person just might be hiding in plain sight and the ingenious way the authors created Zachary, the taunting done to Kendra makes the story come to life and realistic as if it were ripped out of the headlines similar to some of the serial killers on the news in the past. While some of the similarities in the cases have not been revealed to the public finding out and realizing that the mementos left at the crime scene came from some of the past cases of the members of the team created quite a stir among them and definitely bone chilling. There are different methods of murder used within this novel and when Lynch and Kendra visit one particular site where they suspect someone might have been there or even the killer, they experience something that will put them both in the hospital namely nerve gas. Research into how different situations are handled by different law enforcement agencies was extensive but the reveal of the killer was ingenious. Zachary was after Kendra and would taunt her until the end. Allowing readers to here the killer’s voice, hearing his taunts made the reader feel like he was going after not only Kendra but also anyone in his way. Close friend and ally PI Jessie Mercado is called in by Kendra to do some research delving into different cases and protecting Olivia along with Lynch who appears at times out of nowhere just wanting to keep everyone safe and alive. The love/hate relationship between him and Kendra keeps it real and even allows her to show another side of her. Adam Lynch leaves his assignment and with his help another horrific murder is revealed, as one of the team is the next target.
The ending will shock readers as someone close to the investigation is seriously injured before the killer’s identity is finally revealed. What happens when Kendra comes face with face with Zachary and learns the reason behind this demented person’s killings? Why her as a target? How will this reveal implode on the investigative team? What fallback will they encounter when the world learns the identity of Zachary?
Kendra will have to deal with what happens, as she has to make a decision her life or that of the killer. Can she pull the trigger? An ending so surprising and explosive only Iris and Roy can pull it off as a killer named Zachary just might meet his match. But, when going into dark corners, quite crime scenes alone make sure before you enter look both ways and make sure you LOOK BEHIND YOU!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine