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Mystery Books - Jennifer Hillier - Freak

Freak

Simon & Schuster 2012

Freak is the second novel by Canadian writer Jennifer Hillier.  The sequel to Creep, it follows a handful of characters including a retired cop turned PI, a psychology professor, and a disturbed young man. They all connected to Abby Maddox, a forceful and calculating woman who usually gets what she wants.  Kindle version at Amazon

Maddox is an exceptionally bright master manipulator, currently serving time for attempted murder, and under suspicion for more serious crimes.  The mystery is, is she a psychopath with almost everyone under her spell, or simply an unfortunate victim?  Her story and personality attract a large fan base, including a new serial killer out to force Abby's release from prison.  

One by one young women turn up dead, each exhibiting a gruesome message to the authorities.

As the plot develops and the killer is tracked, things get weirder, and everything spins out of control.

Containing some rather chilling moments, Freak definitely has a creep factor.  Well thought out, it is an evenly paced, fast read, which keeps your attention.  Characters have complex interrelationships and good well-established back stories that add to the drama.

Sometimes the plot appears to unfold a bit too easily, and there are certain predictable segments, ie. descriptions of the killer and victims are a bit repetitive, but unexpected developments maintain interest.  Generally, it is a good read.

Now with two novels under her belt, Hillier shows herself to be a promising new author.  Although they are connected, you do not have to read Creep to understand and enjoy this one.  All the details you need are filled in quite nicely.

As an aside, other writers have incorporated fictional websites into their novels, which at times has led to some interesting discoveries.  One hopes that the one mentioned frequently in Freak will be authentic, and be up and running by the time Hillier's second novel is released.

J Curran

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