Stranded by Alex Kava is a “Criminal Minds” kind of story. We have a serial killer who hunts at highway rest stops and buries, after disemboweling the victims, in one place. The killer, who is taunting the FBI, has sent a map of the burial site to the FBI investigators, Maggie O’Dell and Tully. The personal interest part of the story is about a man who rescues dogs and trains the to be corpse finders is the brother of a young girl who went missing many years ago. He is seeking closure, one way or the other.
The plot gets creepy quickly in a Patricia Cromwell sort of way as her forensic scientist character, Kay Scarpetta, becomes entangled with the killers in her investigations to the point some are killed in her house. In Stranded, the killer becomes a narrator, has bought Maggie and her crew a round of drinks, unbeknownst to anyone, after the FBI discovered the burial ground. When she can’t find her FBI cap, she ignores it. That cap is what sets off his next killing when his victim recognizes it on the head of the killer. He is stalking Maggie; they are kindred spirits in his head. As I said it gets creepy quickly.
In spite of all the skills the agents command, it is always amazing how we/they miss the obvious. Understanding our instincts is crucial, as we always have to consider fight or flight. We have another story with dogs who play an important role. A reminder that love to children is very very important in their development.