Title: Splintered (Hunting Evil, Book 1) Second Edition
Author: SJD Peterson
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Genre(s): Crime Procedural
Page Count: 220
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A string of murders targeting effeminate gay men has the GLBTQ community of Chicago on alert, but budget cuts have left many precincts understaffed and overworked, and homophobia is alive and well within the law enforcement community so little has been done to solve the mystery. When the FBI calls in Special Agent Todd Hutchinson and his team, the locals are glad to hand the case off. But Hutch finds a bigger mystery than anyone originally realized—seventeen linked murders committed in several different jurisdictions. Hutch’s clues lead him to Noah Walker.
Working on his PhD in forensic psychology, Noah has been obsessed with serial murders since he was a child. Noah finds himself hunted, striking him off Hutch’s suspect list, but not off his radar. To catch the killer before anyone else falls victim, they’ll have to work together, and quickly, to bring him to justice.
While the main premise of Splintered is compelling, I felt there was too much flotsam that got in the way of the story. As I started reading, Marv from Quentin Tarrantino’s Sin City immediately came to mind as the embodiment of Special Agent Todd Hutchinson (“Hutch”) – clenched jaw, mad at the world, “fucking seething” from scene to scene. The rest of his elite FBI team are stereotypes as well – Hutch’s wise-cracking best friend and associate Granite (“he looked like the poster child for the Goth Nation”) and Byte the computer hacker with $500 Italian ties. They share the type of comradery where Granite makes snarky asides about Hutch’s ass constantly … and I do mean constantly.
There is no chemistry between the two MCs, Noah and Hutch, and the one sex scene is a fade to black. Given the bloody, downright scary serial killer plot, I thought this bizarre that Noah thinks:
He was studying one of the worst serial killers he’d ever encountered, a sick and twisted individual who was now watching him, photographing him, and yet, at the moment, none of it seemed to be enough to dampen the thrill of excitement Hutch produced in him.
That’s a big huh? for me, with a side of downright creepy.
The finale of the book is truly frightening, but occurs because of a totally idiotic situation where the seasoned FBI veteran allows something to happen that is along the line of running away from the killer … by running upstairs. No, no, no – have you never watched a horror movie?
If you read Splintered for the crime procedural aspect, the plot may appeal to you because SJD Peterson has set up a terrifying set of crimes and a very creepy killer. But please be aware the M/M romance aspect is very minimal.
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