Format: E-Galley, 384 pages
Release Date: December 27, 2016
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
"If you're reading this, I'm already dead."
That's the note seventeen-year-old Haley Cooke leaves behind when she disappears from inside her high school. FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is called in to figure out who had reason to hurt her. On the surface, the popular cheerleader has no enemies, but as Evelyn digs deeper, she discovers that everyone close to Haley has something to hide. Everyone from estranged parents, to an older boyfriend with questionable connections, to a best friend who envies Haley's life.
Secrets can be deadly…
One of those secrets may have gotten Haley killed. If she's still alive, Evelyn knows that the more the investigation ramps up, the more pressure they could be putting on Haley's kidnapper to make her disappear for good. It's also possible the teenager isn't in danger at all, but has skillfully manipulated everyone and staged her own disappearance. Only one thing is certain: uncovering Haley's fate could be dangerous—even deadly—to Evelyn herself.
Stalked, by author Elizabeth Heiter, is the fourth novel in The Profiler series. Evelyn Baine is a Special Agent & Profiler who works for the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. She excels at her job, and has gone above and beyond her actual job description in order to solve some really dangerous cases. One could say that Evelyn has stepped in it a time or two, but her desire to do her job better than anyone is why I continue to read this series, and will until Heiter winds the series down.
Stalked deviates a bit from the previous three stories Hunted, Vanished, & Seized. How you ask? This time out Heiter puts you in the shoes of Special Agent Kyle McKenzie formerly of HRT, and current boyfriend of Evelyn's for the past 6 months. This difference makes for an interesting twist, especially now that Kyle is working at the Washington Field Office, and has a partner who readers are familiar with if they've read this series from the beginning.
This story is also different for another reasons as well. This is the first case that Evelyn has had to put herself in the shoes of a kidnap victim, rather than a serial killer, or dead body. This time around she has to solve the case of a missing 17-year old girl named Haley Cook, and work with a partner, Detective Sophie Lopez to find the girl before she turns up on the coroner's table. While Evelyn and Sophie are tracking down leads, and sussing out suspects, Kyle & Jimmy Prescott are running down their own leads after being to a hospital where a young college student lies badly brutalized.
Kyle & Jimmy come to the realization that this case may involve Human Trafficking on a campus setting. But, does his case and Evelyn's case lead down the same path? There is a whole lot of working parts that happen to be going on at the same time. Yet, I wasn't overly worried that I would miss out on something important. Heiter has become one of my favorite authors because she does research. Her characters and story highlight that research time and time again. Human Trafficking is one of those stories that needs to be exposed more in the media, and others.
I am glad that Heiter took a chance and used it as part of her story. It actually worked really well. To truly expose the horror of Human Trafficking and the fact that so many of are young women are taken and sold off for sex and even more disgusting things, we as a society need to be more aware of what is happening around us. We need to speak out when we see something bad happening so that the FBI and other agencies can bring it to a halt.