The Killing Season, by Mason CROSS

Carter Blake is a bit of a mystery  He specialises in locating people who don’t want to be found, and certainly has skills and thought processes to make him good at his job. 
 
Hang on, it’s not a job – he’s not employed salary-wise – he accepts contracts, so he’s a free agent. We don’t know Blake’s background – is he ex police? Ex military? Ex Secret Service?
 
Blake is called in by the FBI to assist in locating a death row escapee, serial killer Caleb Wardell. SAC Walter F Donaldson sets Dave Edwards (“Assistant Special Agent”) in charge of the man hunt, with Special Agent Elaine Banner to work with Edwards and Blake.
 
Unsurprisingly when you get to know him, Blake prefers to use his own methods. Banner sticks with him as he heads in the directions he’s certain Wardell would have taken, while Edwards stubbornly takes the conservative, tried-and-true procedures and heads in the wrong direction.
 
Add interplay with Russian mobsters, whose attempt to free Wardell’s transport companion gave Wardell the opportunity to get away. They’re not too pleased about Wardell killling their objective either.
 
Blake works by getting inside the head of the one to be caught. But he arrives at the right locations at the wrong time: too late to prevent a murder or massacre. Wardell enjoys both – a particular target or a random set of victims.
Mix in politics and bad politics, manipulation of Wardell himself, and his of Blake, a fake FBI agent, and you have a pot-pourri of things rotten.
 
What makes this a great book is Cross letting us see different characters’ points of view – it adds to one’s understanding of the character, and of his/her motivation and processing of the events. It’s a method well handled, and I will definitely be looking for the next novel. Killing Season is the first of a Carter Blake series, so there’s a reason for buying it, then The Samaritan, expected in 2015.
Publisher Orion Books, for Hatchette UK Co
© Mason Cross 2014
ISBN 978-1-4091-4567-7 paperback
Also available as hard cover and ebook editions
Find your Booksellers NZ outlet here

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