When Nick's statistical models correctly predict David’s target sites, the killer retaliates by kidnapping Holly. There's an unspoken similarity between Nick and David in that they both are more comfortable with numbers than people, but, ultimately, Nick fighting for his granddaughter's life and his efforts to awkwardly connect with others sets him apart from the psychotically broken David. The accounts of Nick’s efforts to predict and understand the killer are compelling, and when Grigsby focuses on him, Holly, and David, the narrative is lively and tense.
When the narrative veers off into a burgeoning romance for Nick or the many other side characters, the dialogue feels less confident and the characterization two-dimensional, such as the FBI agent of Chinese descent who speaks in broken English. The danger to Holly is often uncomfortably lurid, serving to obscure the motivations and reactions of a villain who otherwise has a pained, interesting backstory. Still, the procedural aspects of the narrative are unique thanks to their reliance on statistical modeling, and much of the character-building goes above and beyond in creating fully-realized heroes and villains.
Takeaway: This surprising, occasionally lurid thriller finds a retiree tracking a killer through marketing analytics.
Great for fans of: Guillermo Martinez’s The Oxford Murders, John Sandford’s Rules of Prey.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-