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So Close the Hand of Death    by J. T. Ellison order for
So Close the Hand of Death
by J. T. Ellison
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2011 (2011)
Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

In this sixth in Ellison's gripping thriller series, Nashville detective Taylor Jackson has barely had time to wrap up her last case (one that left her psychologically shaken) when she's pulled away to deal with multiple attacks perpetrated by The Pretender.

One involves Fitz, another cop in her squad who's not only her mentor but Taylor's good friend. The fact that The Pretender brutalized Fitz and killed his girlfriend only hardens Taylor's resolve to put an end to the sociopath's murderous rampages once and for all. But when simultaneous attacks occur across the country - that pay homage to the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer and Son of Sam, Taylor is convinced that The Pretender is not working alone.

As the attacks pull the police and FBI in a dozen different directions, Taylor begins to understand the killer's agenda - he wants Taylor to stray from the fold in order to get her all to himself. If she doesn't comply, he'll keep going after her colleagues and loved ones. But the rising body count and anxiety for all those she cares about are taking an emotional and physical toll on Taylor - one that could conceivably see The Pretender walk away in victory.

Having only read the last two books in the Taylor Jackson series I'm not totally up to speed on past cases (some of which tie in to this one), nor her personal and professional relationships or those of the numerous secondary characters. Therefore, I couldn't get fully emotionally invested in the characters and their back-stories. Despite this, So Close the Hand of Death tells a riveting and violent story as the cat and mouse game between Taylor and her arch nemesis comes to a twisted and bloody conclusion.

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