cover image The Perfect Prey

The Perfect Prey

James Andrus, Pinnacle, $6.99 mass market (400p) ISBN 978-0-7860-2216-8

In Andrus's engaging second thriller to feature James Stalling and Patty Levine (after The Perfect Woman), the two missing persons detectives look into the puzzling case of college student Allie Marsh, who died of an overdose of home-made ecstasy while having sex. Allie's is just one of several suspicious deaths among the Jacksonville, Fla., spring break crowd. As a career law enforcement officer, Andrus brings authenticity to the police procedural details. He's also good at depicting the complicated lives of his leads—Stalling, whose own daughter disappeared at 16 and whose home life is in disarray, is particularly devoted to cases of missing persons and endangered young women—as well as the care the killer takes to avoid getting caught. The one flaw is the author's tendency to dwell on the motivations of his many characters, as if he couldn't trust the reader to remember what he'd already established. (Jan.)