The Killing Ground by Syd Parker is an exceptional suspense thriller that gets everything right. Not only do you get the signature slow burn romance Parker is known for, you get a mystery with twists and turns and a surprise ending you’ll never see coming.
A serial killer is targeting pregnant women in Chicago. The latest victim, the wife of the FBI director, prompts a joint task force between the Chicago PD and the FBI. Detective Rebecca Foxx has had her hands full trying to catch the killer, but without any new leads maybe having the FBI come board isn’t the worst idea in the world. Still, she resents the intrusion, as well as the personal attention of Special Agent Jordan Gray. These two women must work together and share information. But Rebecca will be damned if she’ll share anything more than professional courtesy with Jordan.
As they begin, Rebecca and Jordan realize this killer is smart, leaving little evidence. A series of missteps, twists and turns leaves both women wondering if they’ll even catch him. As if that wasn’t enough, they must deal with the distraction of their growing feelings for each other. Will Rebecca and Jordan be able to find the killer before he claims his next victim? And will they be able to find something beautiful in the midst of all this ugliness?
Even though this was written 2012, I believe in today’s climate it is just as relevant and empowering due to how the women in this story are characterized. Both Rebecca Foxx and Jordan Gray hold ranks and statuses in law enforcement that are more likely reserved for men. Not only do they hold these ranks, they do their jobs exceptionally. Rebecca Foxx is a detective that oversees a few men (that’s right, men) in her precinct. Jordan is a Special Agent in the FBI who by sheer strength of will alone has climbed out of her precarious past to have a possible future. Both women have fought to be where they are today. And both have strong alpha personalities. This means they will butt heads on this case, each trying to gain the upper hand. And it will cause sparks of desire so dense it’ll lead them both to distraction.
The Writing Style
The key to a good mystery/thriller is having good details, and Parker definitely delivers in that department. She is able to mix her signature style with a genre that usually doesn’t have a need for romance. In this case, however, she shows that the two – romance and thriller – can blend together well. Some of the details are gritty, yet all of it is pertinent to the unfolding of this mystery. Every detail is deliberate in its use, including the switch from third person to first person in certain chapters to give the killer’s perspective and his motivation. This shift keeps the story fresh and reminds us that the current state of affairs, even with the developing relationship between Rebecca and Jordan, is not to be handled carelessly.
I love all the strong women represented in this story. They are empowered and inspiring by the roles they embody and positions they secure in their professions. It was so refreshing and enjoyable to read a story with such distinguished female characters.
Because of the subject matter, Parker does get graphic with the attack scenes on the victims. If this is something you don’t like reading, then I suggest skipping it. However, I feel the detail is appropriate in the story to engage the reader’s inquisitive mind as well as their emotional reactions.
This book has everything I love: critical detail that is important to the mystery, and empowering women who are fun to shadow. It is a great mystery and a great romance all in one. To find a book that embodies both those genres so well should be given a look.
Excerpt from The Killing Ground by Syd Parker
“Agent Gray.” Jordan’s head came up, and she focused on the woman who had just called her name. She made a show of checking her watch, letting Detective Foxx know right away that the thirty-five minutes they had waited was unacceptable, but she stopped short of letting the irritation show in her features. “Special Agent.” Jordan’s emphasis on Special was her way of setting the tone for this meeting.
Matt stood up beside her and smiled easily. “Special Agent Riley. Thank you for agreeing to see us, Detective Foxx.” He offered his hand and Detective Foxx took it begrudgingly. This was their thing. Jordan played the bad cop to Matt’s good cop. So far it had worked, but one look at Detective Foxx’s face let them know immediately that whatever game they played, they would lose.
“Against my better judgment.” She led them to her small office. From her glass office, she could see every desk in the house and Jordan could tell from the looks of the officers occupying those desks, Detective Foxx was not well liked. Respected, feared maybe, but not liked, and certainly not a woman that appreciated the FBI stepping over any lines. Jordan liked that about her. She understood that and in the few moments it took them to get settled, she studied Rebecca Foxx.
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The Killing Ground
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781478232919
Syd Parker Online
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