Mind Games (Nancy Mehl) – Review

~ About the Book ~

Kaely Quinn’s talents as an FBI behavior analyst are impossible to ignore, no matter how unorthodox her methods. But when a reporter outs her as the daughter of an infamous serial killer, she’s demoted to field agent and transferred to St. Louis.

When the same reporter who ruined her career claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, the reporter’s ulterior motives bring his claim into question. But when a body is found that fits the poem’s predictions, the threat is undeniable, and the FBI sends Special Agent Noah Hunter to St. Louis. 

Initially resentful of the assignment, Noah is surprised at how quickly his respect for Kaely grows, despite her oddities. But with a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else–including Kaely herself–is killed.

Genre:  Suspense
Series: #1 Kaely Quinn Profiler
Release date: 4 December 2018
Pages: 336
Publisher: Bethany House

Amazon US // Amazon AU // iTunes // Goodreads // Koorong

~ Excerpt ~

Kaely Quinn walked into the room. Her curly auburn hair was pulled into a messy bun, soft tendrils framing her delicate face. Confusing her slight build with weakness would be a mistake. Kaely Quinn was one of the toughest human beings he’d ever known. “Is this about Nashville?” she asked as she sat down.
Solomon shook his head. “No, something else. I need you to look at this.” He pushed the plastic bag toward her.
As she read, her expression hardened.
“Jerry Acosta brought it in,” Solomon said. “There’s a note to him on the back.”
Kaely flipped it over and frowned. Then she carefully pushed the plastic bag back toward Solomon. “Acosta received this in the mail?”
“Yeah, this morning.”
“She shook her head. “Why not send it directly to me?”
Solomon knew the question was rhetorical. Kaely didn’t expect him to have an answer.
She looked at him. “You’re waiting for me to explain this to you.”
Solomon ran a hand through his salt-and-pepper hair. “Don’t read my body language, Agent Quinn. You know I don’t like it.”
“Sorry,” she said. “Second nature.” She paused a moment. “It’s clear the writer isn’t just threatening me,” she said finally. “He plans to kill innocent people to prove some kind of sick point. Send me a message.”
“I find this poem very disturbing. Whoever wrote it appears to be obsessed with you.”
“True,” Kaely said. “Something’s set him off. Some kind of defining moment. Whatever it was, he believes he’s free now to take revenge through something he’s planned. This feels very organized. This guy is a budding serial killer.”
“It appears you’re the final objective.”
She nodded, her dark eyes narrowed, her expression intense. “He’s challenging me to catch him. If he makes it through his list, I’m his final target.”
“But why not just come after you first?” Solomon asked. “Why threaten other people?”
Kaely shrugged. “This UNSUB seems to have a personal grudge against me. He feels that if he gets away with these other murders, it will prove I’m not good at my job. That he’s smarter than me. He wants to defeat me completely. Professionally and personally.”

~ Review ~

First of all, let me say, “Whoa!” Kaely Quinn is one complex character. And you really don’t find out just how complex until the end of this novel, so I am really looking forward to learning more about her in the next novel in this series. And this plot pretty much had me suspecting everyone at some point. It was an intriguing race to outwit the person behind the killings as he drew closer and closer to his objective: Kaely Quinn aka Jessica Oliphant.

Yet, for all that, there were a few things that I felt prevented this novel from reaching its full potential. The first was the slow beginning, with lots of info-dumping and background filling, some of which wasn’t all that relevant to the story in my opinion (eg, background on SAC Solomon Slattery). The second was the writing style. This author doesn’t make much use of deep POV and there’s a tendency to explain things to the reader—interpret the characters’ actions, explain their motivations, etc—rather than just letting the reader experience the story and interpret things for themselves. And subtext was virtually non-existent. Those kinds of things weigh a story down for me.

The other thing that occasionally raised my eyebrows was Kaely’s ability to read people. Or perhaps more accurately, her ability to make inferences from the small “tells” she picks up on. I’m somewhat familiar with the “tells” investigators look for when conducting interviews, but some of the inferences she was then able to draw felt a bit far-fetched. Like, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock far-fetched. Then again, as more facets of her character were revealed . . . well, I won’t say anything more because I don’t want to spoil the discovery process, but let’s just say there’s some lingering scepticism.

On the whole, however, this was a story that was difficult to put down, and I won’t hesitate to pick up the next in the series—to learn more about Kaely if nothing else!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ About the Author ~

Nancy Mehl lives in Missouri, with her husband Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored thirty books and is currently at work on a new FBI suspense series for Bethany House Publishing. 

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.” 

Connect with Nancy:  Website // Facebook // Twitter

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Review, Suspense Fiction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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