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The Chessman    by Jeffrey B. Burton order for
by Jeffrey B. Burton
Order:  USA  Can
MacAdam/Cage, 2012 (2012)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a serial killer thriller with a difference, the Chessman. He went on a killing spree, though some of those he murdered were far from stellar citizens. His final confrontation with FBI agent Drew Cady left the latter with a crippled hand, and then the Chessman died - or did he really?

Now, three years later, there are new murders in Washington D.C., with the Chessman's signature at the scenes - he always inserted a chess piece in the killing wound. Drew's old boss, Roland Jund, pressures him to return from retirement and cold case the original investigation. Oddly, Jund is not the only one to put the pressure on Drew - he receives communications and threats from the Chessman! Seems the serial killer is very much alive and very unhappy about the copycats.

The first victim is the Securities and Exchange Commissioner with further deaths tied to the financial sector. As Drew pursues the cold case, watched closely by the Chessman, he finds links to the death of an athletic young woman, supposedly by drowning. And readers are introduced to money manager and investment guru Drake Hartzell and his beloved daughter Lucy - Drake's Ponzi scheme is about to come crashing down around his ears. He needs an exit strategy, but picks the wrong sucker for his final scam.

There are leaks in high places, and close to the investigation. All this comes together, along with a burgeoning romance for Drew, in a crescendo of an ending, in which ex-agent and ruthless serial killer work together in a surprising partnership to save a life. The Chessman is masterfully written, credible and engrossing - not to be missed.

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