Author: Laurie Stevens

Publisher: Follow Your Dreams Publishing

ISBN: 9780989163408

Laurie Stevens' Deep Into Dusk, her second novel in the Gabriel McRay series has all the ingredients of a hair-raising movie thriller on par with the movie Fatal Attraction as it sucks you into wild intrigue with a very unexpected ending.

Stevens' protagonist, Detective Gabriel McRay suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder due to being sexually molested as a child causing him to carry around a great deal of emotional baggage. Unfortunately, his condition continually gets in the way with his crime investigations and, as we discover, sometimes places him into very precarious and ruinous situations. He has been ordered into therapy with a Dr. Raymond Berkowitz as a result of some of his past behavior including police brutality and Stevens even permits her readers to listen in on some of McRay's interesting and revealing sessions with his therapist.

The chilling story is constructed around the investigation of a serial killer who brutally rapes and strangles four women with a wire without leaving any identifying clues such as sweat, blood, prints; and there is no trace of any ejaculation on or around his victims. In addition, there is not one scrap of DNA evidence.

With the help of some of his colleagues including his girlfriend, Ming Li, who is a clinical pathologist, McRay is called upon to hunt down this vicious criminal. Incidentally, Li also has some troubling psychological issues as she was the victim of a kidnapping and was rescued by McRay.

As the story unfolds, we meet a distraught Tara Samuels who was raped but fortunately has managed to escape her rapist and stay alive. She did witness, however, the homicide of another woman who had been in the same room as herself. Apparently, a guy with a ski mask and leather gloves had forced Samuels into a car after toppling her from a horse she had been riding. We learn that the killer drove her to an abandoned house where we are not certain if it was here that Samuels was violated or in the killer's car. The information Samuels conveys to McRay is quite sketchy and we don't know how she got away or if she was just let go by her assailant? Furthermore, does Tara Samuels know more than she is letting on? And how about her arrogant husband Marc who likewise is not very helpful and is reluctant to have his wife questioned by McRay?

How this yarn will play out is much too exciting to reveal. Not only is it full of suspense, it also shows how Stevens is quite aware of the importance and value of careful construction, good writing, pacing and characterization all of which can be attributed to her screenwriting skills. She masterfully weaves into the harrowing plot several elements as a kinky sex den that may have a tie in with the murdered victims as well as with Samuels, a detective becoming sexually involved with a material witness, evil for evil's sake, family and love relationships gone astray, and a few red herrings to make sure readers are kept off balance. But the real magic here that keeps you reading is how she effectively casts a spell on her readers that are as eager as McRay to uncover who is the vicious killer and how all of the murders are tied into one another? This is one author that I am sure we will be hearing more from in the future.


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