I'm not even sure where to start with this review. This book floored me. From the blurb:
Grant Anderson is a small-town detective whose job was quiet and easy, until three girls end up dead. A serial killer is stalking the young ladies in his town. Without the high tech equipment of big cities at his fingers, Grant must rely on good old-fashioned police work; but with no discernible pattern and no clues to follow, the case seems to be grinding to a halt.
Then Grant gets a visit from a mysterious young woman. Who is Clear Angel? What is her connection to the case? If Grant is to believer her, then he must accept that she has “seen” these things. But Grant is a professional. He cannot believe in psychics! Yet when another girl goes missing, and Grant’s search is yielding nothing he is desperate enough to try.
Clear Angel has always been special. Seclusion has kept the nightmares at bay. Then the nightmares begin again. Are they premonitions of events to come? Are they the sick fantasies of a madman? Then one evening she runs into a stranger and finds out that not only are they real, but they are happening here in her home town. After a lifetime of running and hiding from what she can do, she is now forced to reach out to the most unlikely person in an effort to save innocent girls and perhaps the world.
Grant and Clear team up to stop a madman bent on the destruction of the world. As their feelings for one another grow, they try to deny them. But when Clear goes missing, Grant must face his feelings and save her before it is too late.
Ok and now you're thinking, "Oh this is going to be a story about a psychic who helps a cop catch a killer so she doesn't have to see and feel their pain all the time and because she's a good person.
Because this guy isn't just a killer. This cop drama mystery is so much more twisted then that. And you only wish this guy was something as nice and normal as a regular psychopathic serial killer. This guy makes Gein seem normal enough to invite over for a dinner party.
These characters, even the minor characters, are so well developed and thought out that it feels like you know them. Even the waitress at the diner. Heidi is able to take just a few words describing a gesture, a look, a facial expression, and you know what that person is thinking and why. It's brilliant. I would compare her to some big name millionaire author, but to be honest I don't know of one that can distill the essence of a person or scene so well. It felt like I was there with them. Which is incredibly creepy when dealing with the psychopath they are dealing with.
But that also led me to quite a shock. I was deep in cathartic reading, totally immersed at 46% of the way through the book. I smiled a little, thinking I knew what was going to happen with the way the scene was developing.
SHOCK! Freak out! What the Hell, Heidi?! Next thing I know I have tears running down my face and I am trying to keep reading hoping and praying I am wrong. Or that it's a dream sequence or something. But it got worse! And I had to put the book down and grab a tissue. So that is your friendly warning from me. I won't spoil it, but there's a fair warning for you. If you're not a catharsis reader, or not fully immersed I doubt it will be as shocking. But I had been reading for about two hours straight and was really into it. And I have this rescue dog that I am still working with so it was like a punch to the heart. I would have finished the book that day, but I had to take a break after that and picked it up again the next night. And I finished it. Because it is just too good to put down. I stubbed two toes reading while walking and spilled my coffee a few times.
Oh and then the ending! By that point you know he's not a normal bad guy. (SPOILER!) Which is why Clear is locked up in a loony bin. But the final scene, and his "reasons" for doing it are still mind boggling, and completely fit the narrative and his previous actions.
Battle over, the male lead and female lead come together and realize that they are happier together and... nope! These characters are way to complex and realistic for them to get a fairy tale version of happily ever after. And after reading and getting to know all of them it is completely understandable, if somewhat frustrating.
But there is hope! Because Heidi has already written the second book. And the third is coming out soon. If you want to sign up for her newsletter you can get the updates there. Or if like me, you are totally drawn into her stories and need a fix more often you can sign up with her Patreon account and get a free book and weekly updates on her stories and chapter previews. I did it, because I am hooked on her writing. And you should too. $2 will get you this book and all the updates you could want plus chapters of her new collection Survivalist Bible. Go check her out.