Title: Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Terror stalks a small Virginia town.
FBI rising star, criminal profiler Evelyn Baine, knows how to think like a serial killer. But she’s never chased anyone like the Bakersville Burier, who hunts young women and displays them, half-buried, deep in the woods. As the body count climbs, Evelyn’s relentless pursuit of the killer puts her career—and her life—at risk. And the evil lurking in the Burier’s mind may be more than even she can unravel.
Terror is closer than she thinks…
The Bakersville Burier knows he’s got an FBI profiler on his trail. He knows who she is and where to find her. And he’s biding his time, because he’s planned a special punishment for Evelyn. She may have tracked other killers, but he vows to make this her last chase. This time it’s her turn to be hunted!
Elizabeth Heiter’s debut novel Hunted is an intriguing and fast paced mystery. Lead protagonist’s Evelyn Baine’s job as an FBI profiler is unique which makes it stand out from the typical police procedural.
Evelyn Baine is on the career fast track when she is assigned to profile a killer who brutally murders his victims and displays them in a grotesque fashion. She is dedicated to her job (to the point of obsession) and she has a remarkable ability to get inside the minds of the criminals she profiles. When the search for the “Bakersville Burier” becomes personal, Evelyn is in danger losing her objectivity, her career and ultimately, her life.
Evelyn is a strong but deeply flawed heroine. She is closed off from just about everyone around her, defensive and reluctant to accept anyone’s help. Socially awkward and unable to make small talk, Evelyn keeps to herself except for her monthly get-togethers with her two college friends. She is dedicated to the grandmother who essentially raised her and the vulnerability she hides from everyone becomes apparent during their visits. A traumatic incident from Evelyn’s childhood haunts her, guides her career decisions and motivates her to sharpen her investigative skills.
Among the vast cast of secondary characters, there are a few worth noting. Her trainer and partner Greg Ibsen is the perfect sounding board for Evelyn and as a profiler, he can read some of the things she tries to keep hidden. Greg is genuinely concerned for her safety and her career when she makes some iffy decisions. Greg’s cousin Gabe is not quite as serious as the other characters and he brings some levity to the story. Gabe’s friend Kyle “Mac” McKenzie brings the possibility of a future romance between him and Evelyn in future works.
The mystery aspect of Hunted is quite riveting and the profiling process is fascinating. The resistance Evelyn encounters from fellow law enforcement officials adds realism to the storyline. The investigation is well-plotted and for the most part, believable. There were a few events that stretched the bounds of credibility but overall, were easy to overlook. Multiple points of view provide insight into the various characters and the shifts in perspective were easy to follow. All in all, it is an exciting introduction to Elizabeth Heiter’s Profiler series and I am looking forward to the next installment.