A Thousand Vermilion Star (F.B.I. Files 3) by Patricia Logan | Book Review

A copycat serial killer is driving their whole team crazy.

Dr. Leo Reeves has always considered himself a halfway decent criminal profiler. Some of his colleagues even call him brilliant. With this assignment, he sure as hell doesn’t feel that way. He’s been missing something at every turn. The case is dragging into its seventh month and every lead he and his team follow, takes them to a dead end…literally. Leo sure hasn’t come up with anything to move things along, as hard as he’s tried. They’re no closer to capturing their killer…even after following him all the way to Miami.

Special Agent Max Prince is worried.

The longer this case goes on, the farther down the rabbit hole, his partner and lover, Leo, seems to fall. To make matters worse, back home in Los Angeles, detectives Cassidy Ryan and Mike Williams have turned up a second graveyard filled with some surprising victims…victims the team know well. Worse yet, Miami has left them with even more questions. When a good cop is murdered, the whole case turns on its head. Everyone wants answers and their team doesn’t have any.

Something has to change.

Worst of all, the copycat hasn’t stopped killing, leaving strange clues behind, even inserting himself into the case. When one of their own is put in horrible danger, and DNA results reveal a shocking truth, things get even more complicated. No one likes taking risks, especially when they involve meeting the killer on his terms. But taking that risk, might be the only way to resolve this case. Whether it’s the desert graveyards of SoCal, the sexy hot nights of South Beach’s gay scene, or the sticky bayous of New Orleans, Max and Leo have vowed to end this monster once and for all…if he doesn’t end them first.

How was it?

F.B.I. Files book one: Prince of L.A. leaned heavily on the case that brought profiler Leo Reeves to L.A. and rushed the romance, book two: Leo on Fire kept everything steady and balanced with an interesting extension of that first case that wasn’t completely solved. Here, in book three: A Thousand Vermilion Stars we’re basically still on the same case and the cracks are starting to show.

The overall story is not exactly repetitive but it’s starting to feel a little too convoluted. This is essentially part three of the investigation from book one, and it wasn’t connected I might have appreciated this story a little more. I can overlook the rookie-level mistakes and lack of common sense from the boys on display here, I guess they can’t be great at their jobs 100% of the time and can be rattled like the rest of us. But there’s a solid, dramatic, and entertaining story in this book that’s a little bogged down by its connective tissue to the first two books.

Hear me out, I’d keep the same premise from the first two entries except that I’d exclude this particular copycat killer from the case, yet still mention Reeve’s family history in those first two books. I’d close the case in book two by giving Reeve’s team notoriety and press for catching this ring of famous murderers’ fan club, and have the copycat serial killer from this book reveal himself to the team by showing off because of the team’s notoriety, the killer’s personal vendetta, and the fact that they caught a ring of copycats mirroring famous serial killers and yet the bureau never caught on to him.

This slightly altered version would have had more impact on me and would have made a bit more sense from the killer’s perspective than what we got. The story here is good but it’s a bit much when you consider where we started. On the romantic side, I like Leo and Max together, they’re an intense and interesting couple, and yet their relationship is not what I like the most.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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