The Killing Season
By Mason Cross
Published by Orion (9 April 2015)
The first thing you should know about me is that my name is not Carter Blake. That name no more belongs to me than the hotel room I was occupying when the call came in.
When Caleb Wardell, the infamous 'Chicago Sniper', escapes from death row two weeks before his execution, the FBI calls on the services of Carter Blake, a man with certain specialised talents whose skills lie in finding those who don't want to be found. A man to whom Wardell is no stranger.
Along with Elaine Banner, an ambitious special agent juggling life as a single mother with her increasingly high-flying career, Blake must track Wardell down as he cuts a swathe across America, apparently killing at random.
But Blake and Banner soon find themselves sidelined from the case. And as they try desperately to second guess a man who kills purely for the thrill of it, they uncover a hornets' nest of lies and corruption. Now Blake must break the rules and go head to head with the FBI if he is to stop Wardell and expose a deadly conspiracy that will rock the country.
In The Killing Season, I met Carter Blake for the first time. He's a man with a mysterious past and who clearly doesn't like to play by the rules. Yet he has principles and certainly has a heart (which reminded me more of Ben Hope than Jack Reacher, although the book will appeal to fans of both).
This is a highly intelligent thriller, with its fast-paced plot and non-stop action scenes. I found myself holding my breath on more than one occasion and I was hooked right until the last page. I didn't predict the ending at all, which led to a great finale.
And I loved the characters so much (yes, Carter Blake in particular) that I read The Samaritan straight afterwards.
By Mason Cross
Publisher by Orion (31 December 2015)
When the mutilated body of a young woman is discovered, LAPD Detective Jessica Allen knows she's seen this MO before.
A sadistic serial killer has been operating undetected for a decade, preying on lone female drivers who have broken down. The press dub the killer 'the Samaritan', but with no leads, the police investigation quickly grinds to a halt.
That's when Carter Blake shows up to volunteer his services. He's a skilled manhunter who shares some uncomfortable similarities to the man Allen and her team are tracking. As the slaughter intensifies, Blake must find a way to stop it . . . even if it means bringing his own past crashing down on top of him.
The Samaritan is the second adventure featuring 'people hunter' Carter Blake. This is another fast-paced action thriller with plenty of twists and turns and a nail-biting finale.
The plot focuses on a serial killer who is targeting young women. The police are struggling with leads, but Blake believes he recognises the murderer's distinctive 'signature' so joins the hunt for the killer. Yet again, there are plenty of action scenes, well-rounded characters and a complex plot that kept me guessing all the way through.
The Samaritan feeds the reader snippets about Blake's past, which helped to flesh out his character. I am intrigued by the 'Winterlong' operation - this was mentioned throughout the book and seems to be the background for Book 3 (The Time To Kill), which is being published in June 2016.
Mason Cross books are ideal for fans of Ben Hope and Jack Reacher. I hope the Carter Blake series goes on and on.
I received Advance Reader Copies from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.