A spine-chilling thriller, A Dark Mind (The Lizzy Gardner Series #3), opens with a scenario in which a Sacramento couple is attacked by unknown persons. It is 2007, and John and Rochelle are the victims in this case.
Fast forward to other scenarios involving couples over the years, including Maureen and Charles Baker, gone missing in 2012.
The author leads us back to snippets from the 2007 case periodically, hinting to the reader that there is something especially significant about this particular case. Nothing is quite what it seems.
Next we are introduced to Lizzy Gardner, a Private Investigator, who has just moved in with her boyfriend Jared Shayne, an FBI agent. He is working to catch a serial killer dubbed by the media as the Lovebird Killer: he lures in couples, then kidnaps and kills the woman, followed soon by the man. But his methods change. He appears to be a master of disguise, and as the agents learn more about him, they realize how much there is to learn. He has eluded them successfully for years.
How does Lizzy get involved in his pursuit? Coincidence, or the master plan of the killer? What begins as a routine case takes her right onto his path, and she and her two young assistants, Jessica and Hayley, stumble onto one clue after another.
But it will be many weeks before they put together all the pieces. Meanwhile, in an alternating perspective, we are privy to the killer’s disease-addled brain as he shares his delight in his games.
A fascinating foray into the creepy world of a serial killer, the story also reveals the personal tragedies of each of the characters, from Lizzy, who was herself a victim in a previous book; to Hayley, whose abuse at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend, led her to take dangerous actions. Hayley and Jessica, the young sleuths, are a character study all on their own. I enjoyed glimpsing behind the daily lives of each of them, understanding their many layers, and wanting to know more. I am sure there is another book in this series coming some day. I hope. Five stars.