When Serial Killers Terrorize a California Beach Community,
One Woman Stands in Their Way
Emily Stone doesn’t have a badge. But that hasn’t stopped her from tracking down some of the West’s most dangerous child-killers. Armed with a digital SLR camera, laptop computer and her trusty Beretta, Stone uses her innate gift for detective work to identify the perps — and then anonymously e-mail the evidence to the cops.
Now, the hunt for two brazen serial killers on the loose right in her own coastal California town threatens to expose Stone’s identity — unraveling her carefully constructed cover and jeopardizing her life’s work. But when she gets too close to the action, this razor-sharp hunter becomes the hunted. Cooperating with the handsome local police detective could be the only hope for stopping the rampage directed at unsuspecting young women — and saving herself. Can they piece together the clues in time?
Compulsion mixes CSI-style investigation with a ripped-from-the-headlines plot and a dose of romance for a keeps-you-guessing, fast-paced and savvy thriller, right up until the shocking finale.
Jennifer Chase’s Compulsion is an all-time great fiction suspense thriller. Jennifer takes her knowledge of forensic science and criminology to new levels of understanding and entertainment.
This is one edge-of-your-seat who-dun-it that will keep you enthralled from the first page to the last.
Emily Stone has one quest in life and that is to see that all killers are brought to justice. Her parents had been killed in a botched robbery and with no suspects that would end in an arrest, she is left to doubt the abilities of some of the men in law enforcement.
Keeping her identity a secret, Emily works alone and behind the scenes to track down and gather evidence to convict child killers around the country. Anonymously she gathers the evidence and sends it by email to the law enforcement officers who are working the cases.
Suddenly Emily finds herself deeply involved in a serial murder case that has her own community locked in its icy grip. Tracking killers around the country is one thing, but to have them almost on her doorstep is quite another. Almost too late she realizes just how close to home these killers are.
Just when Emily is stressed to the limit from trying to keep her identity hidden so that she can continue to work safely behind the scenes and not become a victim in the process, she meets handsome young detective, Rick Lopez. She finds herself falling for the detective and opens her heart and discloses her secrets. She tells Rick what she knows and what she thinks about the serial killers of the case on which he is working. Rick is fascinated by Emily and knows that he has finally found a kindred spirit. He knows in his heart that he is falling in love with the beautiful and secretive Emily.
To keep Rick and her long-time friend, police Sergeant Mike Sullivan safe, Emily sneaks away to confront the killers on her own turf and in a circumstance under which she has control. Knowing the identity of one of the killers, Emily knows that this has now turned into a game of cat and mouse where she is the bait and the killer is determined to find her. The clock is ticking and she can almost feel the killer’s hot breath on the back of her neck as she waits in hiding for him to make his next move. Trying hard to turn the tables on this monster, she has set her own trap to bring him down. But will it be enough?
For all you forensic science buffs, Compulsion is a must read and for everyone else, you will enjoy the mystery, suspense, and thrills of a well-written and thoroughly captivating book. You may want to read it with all the lights on.
Reviewed by Sandra E. Graham - BookPleasures, author of Amos Jakey and Nicolina
There are certain types of books that are almost guaranteed to keep me turning the pages into the late hours of the night. The first is any novel that develops a compelling story of the complexities found in human relationships. Second, I love a great piece of historical fiction that places me in a previous moment in time. And, finally, I gravitate towards thrilling mysteries that are filled with breath-taking action and plot twists. For literary satisfaction on the last count, I am so excited to have discovered new author Jennifer Chase. Her first book, Compulsion, is a fascinating story of serial murderers, pedophiles, and the one amazing woman who is able to bring them all to justice. When a book contains these elements and is well-written, which Compulsion most certainly is, you have the recipe for an amazing read.
Author Jennifer Chase introduces us to the great character of Emily Stone. Working anonymously with her camera, computer, and trusted weapon at her constant disposal, Stone goes on the hunt for some of the most violent and deplorable criminals one can imagine. She uses her police background and natural ability to get inside the criminal mind to gather detailed, on-the-scene evidence. Then, she sends her information to the police and another villain is taken off the streets. When Stone’s identity is revealed to the latest killer on her radar screen, the fast-paced action that unfolds becomes the heart of the story and takes the reader on an amazing journey of heightened adrenaline and fear.
One of the greatest strengths in Chase’s writing is the careful unfolding of her characters’ personalities. The man known to the readers for most of Compulsion’s pages only as The Killer is first revealed through the gruesome crimes he commits. We learn of his brutal style of murder through the description of police on the scene. Further into the book, we are let into the mind of The Killer and the motivation behind his violent spree. Chase’s portrayal of a man sitting alone with his twisted thoughts brings the character into a more frightening focus. When the name and full story behind The Killer is finally revealed, the weight provided by the complete picture of this terrifying man is felt. The author employs this same development technique for her other characters, which adds an important element to the tension and sense of uncertainty. But don’t think that you are necessarily on the right track when learning more about a person in this novel. I found myself fooled by Chase’s convincing efforts to lead us down a path of assuming the guilt of an innocent person on more than one occasion.
Both the language and overall format of this book are evidence of Chase’s genuine talent in the genre of thrillers. For example, the tension and terror of the book escalates as The Killer and The Accomplice become more voracious in their need for prey. As they drive across the country with the intention of murdering Emily Stone, their need to commit violence at every step is overpowering. Readers can envision these men clenching their fists and tapping their feet with nervous energy and Chase reminds us at the close of every chapter in this climactic series of events that, “The Killers are coming.” It is a taunt that helps to create a sense of terrified anticipation. Each chapter is also quite short, often not more than three or four pages in length. This purposefully abrupt , snapshot approach jostles the reader from one event to the next, and is wonderful at generating the way that Emily Stone must feel when moving from one case to the next and not knowing who or what may be around the corner.
The new novel Compulsion by Jennifer Chase is a captivating thriller that will keep you guessing until the last page is read. The careful character development results in real, three-dimensional men and women, even if some of them are almost unimaginably horrifying. The plot, with its slowly revealed layers, is one that engages the readers immediately and takes them on quite an adventure. I was excited to read on Chase’s back cover that she is currently at work on the next book in the series. She can be certain that this new fan will be among the first to read the next installment. I believe that you, too, will find that Compulsion will leave you excited for more.
Reviewed by Sarah Moore - Writers in the Sky
Listen to Jennifer's Interview on BlogTalkRadio/The Odd Mind