One week before Halloween, a young boy’s body is found mutilated beside the Platte River. The killing resembles a string of murders from years prior. The only problem is the original killer was caught and executed. Is this new murder the beginnings of a copycat killer, or was the wrong man killed by the state? To help stop the killings, Special Agent Maggie O’Dell, serial killer profiler, is called in.
Alex Kava’s first novel, and the first of thirteen following Maggie O’Dell, is set in the fictional town of Platte City, located halfway between Omaha and Lincoln, and resembles the small town Kava was born and raised in. The investigation into the new murders is led by a handsome ex-Cornhusker quarterback with a Harvard Law degree, Sheriff Nick Morelli. Living in the shadow of his father, the sheriff who arrested the original killer, Nick’s job has been that of a simple small town lawman, until the recent bout of killings. To complicate matters, his sister Christine, is trying to make her way up in the world of reporting, using the killings as a way to advance her career, often breaking stories before Nick has a chance to get a handle on the case.
Into this small town drama Maggie O’Dell is sent. In the model of Dana Scully and Clarice Starling, Maggie is smart, beautiful, and professional. But underneath her cool demeanor she struggles with problems of her own: a failing marriage, suicidal mother, and trauma from nearly being killed at the hands of her last serial killer. Despite these distractions, the biggest threat to her concentration turns out to be a spark of attraction between her and Nick.
As Maggie, Nick, and Christine are drawn into the killer’s world, they discover things about themselves along the way, questioning their values and motives in life and learning how to navigate family issues.
Part thriller, part romance, Kava creates a fast-paced narrative from the viewpoints of Maggie, Nick, and Christine, as well as the serial killer who begins to target Maggie for his twisted pleasure. Kava reveals the killer’s identity early, giving us a glimpse into his psyche and childhood to reveal the motives for his crimes at the same time Maggie pieces together her profile on him.
With graphic details not for the faint of heart, but with romance for those who like to have their heartstrings pulled, A Perfect Evil is a genre-blender perfect for curling up with on a chilly night this spooky season.
A Perfect Evil, along with several other Maggie O’Dell novels, are available at Bellevue University Library, located in the general collection. All books can be borrowed for 21 days with the option of renewal.