Title: The Professor by Cathy Perkins
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 92,000 words
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
The Professor presses his palm against her flank, the warmth of her blood, hotter than her skin. Hot, like the life force that he has claimed. The power over life and death is the ultimate thrill.
Someone is murdering women on college campuses. Agent Mick O’Shaughnessy’s mission is simple: stop the killer. Following every lead, he meets Meg, the faculty advisor for one of the victims, who can help him track the killer through her campus connections.
Meg Connelly is focused on getting her master’s degree to show her estranged family she doesn’t need anybody’s help to succeed. There’s something about Mick she can’t resist, but the last time she let someone get close to her, it cost her everything.
As the investigation heats up, so does their relationship. But Mick’s interest in Meg doesn’t just endanger her heart—it puts her in the sights of the killer.
Once he gets her alone, he can take all the time he needs…
Cathy Perkins’ debut novel The Professor is a terrifying look into the mind of a horrific serial killer. During his investigation for a killer targeting college co-eds Mick O’Shaugnessy becomes romantically involved with student and instructor Meg Connelly. His hunt for the killer becomes personal when the murderer taunts Mick and targets Meg.
Told from the three key players perspectives, The Professor is a tightly plotted mystery with strong character development. As the main voice, readers gain the most insight into Mick O’Shaugnessy. The interactions with his co-workers, witnesses and family provide a great deal of dimension and depth to his character.
Meg Connelly is a difficult character to get to know. Past betrayals and a complicated history play crucial roles in her inability to open up to anyone. Her independence and stubbornness prove to be her best and worst qualities. She reluctantly reveals bits and pieces from her past, and she shuts down at the first hint of trouble.
But the most revealing viewpoint is that of the serial killer dubbed “The Professor”. The perverse thoughts and twisted desires of “The Professor” are horrifying yet provide a fascinating look into what motivates and drives a person to kill. His calm and almost detached demeanor quickly devolves as his obsession with both Mick and Meg slowly spirals out of control.
The investigation and search for the serial killer is the main focus of the novel. The investigative aspect is very well done and it is apparent that Ms. Perkins did a tremendous amount of research into police procedure. Old fashioned solid detective work leads Mick and his fellow officers down a few false trails, but they eventually find the clues that lead them to the killer.
The romance between Mick and Meg is understated and plays a secondary role to the murder investigation. Their relationship develops slowly and it is a sharp contrast to the darker undertones of violence that permeate The Professor.
Although there are a couple of unanswered questions, Cathy Perkins brings The Professor to a pulse-pounding and exciting conclusion. If you are looking for a mystery that is suspenseful and realistic with just a touch of romance, then you are sure to enjoy this superb debut novel by a promising new author.