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The Whisperer    by Donato Carrisi order for
by Donato Carrisi
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Mulholland, 2012 (2012)
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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Donato Carrisi's international bestseller The Whisperer is as creepily convoluted as they come. It centers on a European team reminiscent of the FBI profilers in Criminal Minds, and on troubled young officer, Mila Vasquez, a missing persons expert who joins them in their latest investigation.

Carrisi starts by revealing to the reader a prison inmate - jailed for four months after being found wandering naked on a country road and refusing to reveal his identity. In prison, he is careful to avoid leaving any 'organic material' in his cell, that might be used for DNA comparisons. The prison director brings this to the DA's attention.

Next we meet famed criminologist Goran Gavila as he and his team look at a staged scene, where six left arms have been found - five of them, those of missing young girls, whose ages range from seven to thirteen, all 'kidnapped in the course of a week.' But whose was the sixth arm?

The author introduces Mila Vasquez as she recklessly rescues two young victims from a pedophile, almost losing her life in the process - does she have a death wish, and if so, why? After this latest in a string of successes, Mila is seconded to Gavila's team to help identify and find the sixth child, or her remains.

As Mila works with Gavila and his subordinates, she's disturbed by the overt hostility of Sarah Rosa. And she's drawn to Gavila himself, a single father who's obviously very close to his son Tommy. The team has its successes, that quickly turn to failure in their main objective. They catch vicious criminals, but who is pulling the strings? Is there a whisperer, a subliminal killer with the 'ability to impress weaker personalities'?

As the case progresses, we learn more of the backgrounds of the investigators themselves, including Mila's dark history. And, with Mila, we wonder who is stalking her, and why. Carrisi continues tossing shockers at readers till the very last page. If you enjoy thrillers, don't miss The Whisperer, the best of the year so far and one that will be hard to beat!

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