cover image So Close the Hand of Death

So Close the Hand of Death

J.T. Ellison, read by Joyce Bean. Brilliance Audio, unabridged, nine CDs, 10 hrs., $19.99 ISBN 978-1-61106-302-8%E2%80%A8

In Ellison's sixth Taylor Jackson thriller, the Nashville homicide detective finds herself terrorized by the acolyte of a serial killer she bested in a previous novel. Calling himself the Pretender, his evil plan uses the Internet to host a nationwide contest between want-to-be killers, urging contestants to slay in the style of their favorite homicidal maniac. As the aspiring assassins murder their way to the winner's circle, paying homage to the likes of Son of Sam, the Boston Strangler, and San Francisco's Zodiac Killer, the Pretender sets his sights on Jackson, rattling her by maiming her closest friends. From there, the novel alternates between protagonists until the two converge and eventually collide. Joyce Bean turns in another fine performance, narrating in a straightforward, smartly paced fashion, with special diligence in vocally mirroring Jackson's ever-increasing stress and strain. Her rendering of the tension-filled confrontation scene is powerful enough to convince some listeners to overlook some of the novel's less credible sequences. A Mira paperback. (Mar.)%E2%80%A8