Sali James has spent the last few years of her life not really living. After being attacked, tortured and left to live with her scars by an elusive and prolific serial killer named Four Point, Sali is merely existing locked in her home with no meaningful contact with the outside world. That is, apart from her regular if infrequent visits to Jenny, the only other known survivor of Four Point.
Enter Detective Maggie Miller, a cold case detective with a plan. A plan that requires Sali to step back into the action and help capture Four Point finally. But can Sali learn to trust enough to let Maggie in? Or will she push away the one person who has tried to get under her skin and into her head since her attack?
Sali is so messed up, not without with good reason. But that is part of what makes her appealing to me… her brokenness and vulnerability. She is perhaps the most tortured lead character I have come across in a long, long time, and I instantly felt like I wanted to know her better. Fortunately, Ellendale has written the character and her character arc in such a way that I felt completely fulfilled on this count by the end of the book.
Maggie is bold and brazen in her attraction to Sali (especially for someone who is in the closet!!). Maggie is the kind of character I would like to be friends with. She has passion, patience, and a desire to save the world. Or at least to save Sali. I loved the forceful way in which Maggie opened Sali up to the possibility of living again, and the glimpses we got of the more complex side of Maggie. I hope Maggie grows as a character even more throughout the trilogy.
The other characters are mostly police officers or ex-police officers, and they are all written with personalities that are believable, if not likeable. The other character I adored in this book was Jenny. Jenny was the first victim of Four Point, and the only survivor prior to Sali. Now living in an asylum of sorts, Jenny has a subtle strength that just appears to grow and envelop Sali as the story builds, and I admired her endlessly. If Ellendale ever decided to write something a little left of the Four Point Trilogy, I’d love to see a prequel of Jenny’s story.
The Writing Style
The pacing of Four Point is absolutely faultless. There is a great build up throughout the book to a climax that I was expecting, but wasn’t disappointed with. Written from Sali’s point of view, the language and storyline is easy to follow and by taking Sali’s perspective on, the reader is treated to a deeper understanding of her tortured and fragmented reality.
This book was an easy read. What I mean by that is it was impossible to put down, and I devoured it in a few short hours. Ellendale has created really intriguing characters, and the premise was different to a lot of the thrillers in the lesfic market, so I enjoyed that immensely. Biggest pro? This is the first book of a trilogy. Can’t wait to get my Thrillogy on!
This book is about a serial killer who violates women. And there is a scene that involves m/f sexual relations, which while it isn’t crucial to the storyline, also isn’t gratuitous. If you don’t like that in your lesfic, and many don’t, I recommend you read this book and skip two or three pages when it happens. This book is too good to miss for such a small part of the story.
Genuinely great read. I had never read Max Ellendale before, but now I can’t wait to read the next book in the Four Point series. Gritty characters who are somewhat damaged and seeking some light in their darkness, and a terrific story line that builds slowly to a great climax. A definite recommended read if you are looking for a little more than your usual detective type thriller.
Excerpt from Four Point by Max Ellendale
“What do you want?”
“Do you know where I can find, Detective Sali James?” she asked, her badge returned to dangle around her neck.
“Like I said, there’s no detective here. Who are you?” Hazy consciousness returned to me. How long had I been out? A day? Four?
“Detective Maggie Miller with Grays Harbor Cold Case. Are you Sali James?” Her voice softened some as the full image of her presence settled with me. Carefully crafted brunette layers encircled her heart shaped face. Piercing blue eyes, laced with suspicion, bore into me.
“What do you want?” I grit my teeth, fighting the desire to tell her off.
“Detective James, it’s my understanding that you were the last person to work on the Four Point Killer case. I know you’re in retirement, but I’d like to discuss it with you if you have some time,” Miller said, her eyes never leaving mine. Doubt wrinkled her brow as she watched me.
I pulled a cigarette from the pack and offered her one. She shook her head no. I pocketed the pack before lighting up. “Ask Ben,” I said.
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Note: I received a free review copy of Four Point by Max Ellendale. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.