cover image Strip Search

Strip Search

William Bernhardt, . . Ballantine, $25.95 (355pp) ISBN 978-0-345-47019-5

Bernhardt’s dysfunctional Las Vegas cop, Susan Pulaski, tracks another maniacal serial killer in this circuitous and graphically violent sequel to 2005’s Dark Eye . When the grisly murders—in which the victim is branded and dismembered, and a mathematical equation left at each crime scene—hit Vegas, police chief Robert O’Bannon temporarily rehires widowed ex-police profiler Susan, against the wishes of Lt. Barry Granger, the homicide detective leading the investigation, who despises Susan. The chief’s autistic math-whiz son, Darcy, may be able to crack the killer’s baffling symbols, but O’Bannon warns Susan to keep Darcy on the sidelines. As tensions escalate between Susan and Granger, Susan remains one step behind the mastermind behind the crimes. Distracting lectures on numerology, the Kabbalah and advanced mathematics interrupt the overloaded plot, but the ghastly puzzle comes together in a breathtaking, suspenseful finale. (Aug.)