Freak by Jennifer Hillier - Book Review

Freak by Jennifer Hillier – Book Review

Alone in a maximum-security prison cell in Seattle, Abby Maddox – the former lover of Ethan Wolfe, the killer who left more than a dozen women in his wake – is a celebrity. Abby has little human contact apart for the letters that pour in from her demented fans. But a new wave of murders gives Abby a chance for a plea bargain – because this killer has been sending her love letters, and carving a message on the bodies of the victims: Free Abby Maddox.

Jerry Isaac will never forget his attacker. He wants Abby Maddox to rot in jail – but he knows she could be the key to this disturbing new case. Can he and one of Wolfe’s surviving victims, Professor Tao, put the pieces together before Abby’s number one fan takes another life in their perverted pursuit of justice?

I became an admirer of Jennifer Hillier’s writing after reading her debut title Creep earlier this year, a title that introduces the reader to not only her protagonists Dr Sheila Tao and Jerry Isaac but numerous other colourful characters including Abby Maddox, a psychopath and manipulator who has nothing but revenge on her mind – despite being locked up in a prison cell.

Reading an author’s second novel – especially after enjoying the first so much – is always an interesting experience. You attack the book with fervour and just hope it’s as good as the previous title, if not better. Sometimes you just luck out, sometimes you don’t – I’ve experienced both this year. I needn’t have worried for Hillier’s fluent style is there in abundance and the book moves along at a furious pace from the very first page until the dramatic conclusion. The great thing I like about Hillier’s books is that they are easy to read and rattle on at a furious pace.

After leaving things open ended in Creep – if you haven’t read it you really should! – Hillier ties up all the loose ends with aplomb and in so doing introduces us to another serial killer, a killer tantalisingly linked to Abby Maddox. Is Maddox guilty? Is she innocent? Who’s killing these women? All these questions and more are eventually answered in Freak but as in her debut title the author leaves the door ajar with more unanswered questions in readiness for her third title in the series. Damn you Hillier!

One thing that impressed me with Freak was the way Hillier’s mind works! Her personality shines through – worryingly so in some cases! – and I just had this curious feeling of hidden meanings and inside jokes that only those nearest and dearest to Hillier would recognise. Her love of music is obvious for all to see and the playlist for Freak is eclectic and certainly adds a little extra to the adventure.

Characterisation is once again spot on with Tao and Isaac playing centre stage, ably supported by Detective Torrence, Maddox and Isaac’s assistant Danny, an intelligent young girl who can’t do enough to help her technophobic boss.

There are a few twists and turns along the way, one I guessed and a few I didn’t but the book certainly keeps you guessing and despite packing a mighty punch early on with the early murders I enjoyed how the author slowly increased both tension and speed until a climactic dénouement that leaves little to the imagination.

The crimes are intelligent and well thought out and although some of the victims were only part players I felt a closeness to a couple of the characters I hadn’t anticipated. I guess it speaks volumes about Hillier’s intelligent writing and her ability to make even the most insignificant character seem important.

A thoroughly entertaining and fast paced read, with a few shocks along the way, Freak is a satisfying addition to the series. It stands alone well – Hillier covers old ground and wraps things up nicely – but as with many follow up books you will certainly take more from this book having read Creep.

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1 Response » to “Freak by Jennifer Hillier – Book Review”

  1. Nikki-ann says:

    Another book to add to my ever-growing list! A great review (as always) and an interesting cover.

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