Title: The Kill List by Nichole Christoff
A Jamie Sinclair Novel
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 279 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In this taut debut thriller, Nichole Christoff introduces a savvy private investigator with nerves of steel—and a shattered heart.
As a top private eye turned security specialist, Jamie Sinclair has worked hard to put her broken marriage behind her. But when her lying, cheating ex-husband, army colonel Tim Thorp, calls with the news that his three-year-old daughter has been kidnapped, he begs Jamie to come find her. For the sake of the child, Jamie knows she can’t refuse. Now, despite the past, she’ll do everything in her power to bring little Brooke Thorp home alive.
Soon Jamie is back at Fort Leeds—the army base in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens where she grew up, the only child of a two-star general—chasing down leads and forging an uneasy alliance with the stern military police commander and the exacting FBI agent working Brooke’s case. But because Jamie’s father is now a U.S. senator, her recent run-in with a disturbed stalker is all over the news, and when she starts receiving gruesome threats echoing the stalker’s last words, she can’t shake the feeling that her investigation may be about more than a missing girl—and that someone very powerful is hiding something very significant . . . and very sinister.
Nichole Christoff’s mystery series starring Jamie Sinclair is off to a strong beginning with the first installment, The Kill List. This action-packed and intriguing mystery is quite riveting with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. A great cast of characters, a very descriptive writing style and a baffling mystery are just a few of the reasons this debut novel is so entertaining and impossible to put down.
The Kill List opens with private investigator Jamie Sinclair using herself as bait for a stalker and then quickly segues into a request from her ex-husband to help find his kidnapped daughter. Upon arrival at Ft. Leeds, Jamie is besieged by memories of when she lived on the post as a teenager. But it is coming face to face with her ex-husband Tim Thorp and his new wife Brandy that she finds most disconcerting. Setting aside her unease, Jamie is quick to begin the search for three year old Brooke. But the investigation is soon hampered by interagency squabbling and the discovery that Tim has been less than honest with her. With the help of military policeman Lt. Colonel Adam Barrett, she uncovers and follows several possible leads with little regard to her personal safety.
Jamie is a strong, tough and gutsy lead character who does not let anyone tell her what she can or cannot do. She is still hurting from her divorce but finding Tim’s daughter is more important than her broken heart. She is tenacious and clever and at times, she acts before she thinks, with sometimes disastrous results. Jamie has a strong moral compass but she is also willing to bend a few rules to get to the truth.
Adam Barrett teams up with Jamie right away and helps her throughout the investigation. He is keenly observant, patient and caring, but he never lets sentiment get in the way of duty. While he is not afraid to ask Jamie probing questions about her personal life, he does not press her for more than she is willing to reveal.
The investigation into Brooke’s disappearance is full of puzzling and seemingly unrelated clues. The search for the kidnapper yields a few promising leads, but the trail quickly goes cold. Jamie’s attention is diverted when the stalker escapes during a court appearance and comes after her. The novel really becomes suspenseful as Jamie finds herself in one dangerous situation after another. Thankfully Adam offers her a safe haven when it becomes apparent that her life is in danger, but from whom? The kidnapper? The stalker? Both?
The Kill List is a suspense-laden and fast paced novel that fans of police procedurals are going to love. The mystery element of the storyline is brilliantly executed and nearly impossible to solve. The characters are multi-faceted and well developed. The plot twists are outstanding and Nichole Christoff brings the novel to an absolutely shocking and dramatic conclusion.