Format: Paperback, 452 pages
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Source: Publisher Signed Copy
Genre: Mystery / Detective
FBI agent Matthew Roarke has been on leave, and in seclusion, since the capture of mass killer Cara Lindstrom—the victim turned avenger who preys on predators. Torn between devotion to the law and a powerful attraction to Cara and her lethal brand of justice, Roarke has retreated from both to search his soul. But Cara’s escape from custody and a police detective’s cryptic challenge soon draw him out of exile—into the California desert and deep into Cara’s past—to probe an unsolved murder that could be the key to her long and deadly career.Following young Cara’s trail, Roarke uncovers a horrifying attack on a schoolgirl, the shocking suicide of another, and a human monster stalking Cara’s old high school. Separated by sixteen years, crossing paths in the present and past, Roarke and fourteen-year-old Cara must race to find and stop the sadistic sexual predator before more young women are brutalized.
Bitter Moon, by author Alexandra Sokoloff, is the 4th installment in The Huntress/FBI Thrillers series. This story actually takes a bit of a turn from the previous installments. This time Sokoloff alternates her story between both Cara Lindstrom and Matthew Roarke nearly equally. But, there is a twist. You see, Cara's story takes place 16 years ago, while Roarke's is in the present. So, in fairness to Cara, and the fact that readers like me were really intrigued at how it all happened, let's start with her journey first.
Cara's story takes place when she was 14-years old. At 12-years of age, Cara was sentenced to the California Young Authority for 2 years after she stopped a rapist and his cohort from taking advantage of her. After 2 years in CYA, Cara learned a few things that have helped her to survive. If you have read the previous 3 installments, you know that Cara has had an unbelievably awful life. From being the only survivor of a serial killer, to being shoved in one group home to another, to being tossed back into the system after her only blood relatives couldn't deal with her, to being exposed to abuse and violence.
Bitter Moon explores Cara's life as she hopes to return normal. This includes her temporarily changing her name. But, Cara can't hide who she is, and is almost immediately able to sense that IT has followed her to her new school. IT has also followed her to her new home which sets her on a course we have come to know as the Vigilante who goes after the very worst in society. IT also may be responsible for the dual attacks on two girls from her school. Cara knows that IT has followed her, but now Cara must face IT in hopes that she can finally escape IT's grasp, and save other innocent girls from the same fate.
Meanwhile, Roarke is swimming against the tide after what happened in Cold Moon. He is left searching for a reason to continue his job. Watching Cara, and three other women disappear without knowing where they went, has gotten under his skin. Roarke had become rather obsessed with Cara in the run up to this story, but has been trying to put her out of his mind for his own sanity. After a strange call from a LEO in Palm Desert, Roarke's new investigation leads him to explore Cara's life, a possible serial rapist that has been around since Cara was a kid, and what led her to the path that she is currently on.
One of the curious aspects of this series is whether or not Cara has some supernatural ability to see the evil in those she meets. From my perspective, she has had a pretty decent record to this point, and even now, Roarke and others, are pretty sure this isn't something to ignore. I have to give props to the fact that the author once again brings highlights to what I think is a huge crime that is taking place right under our noses. I am speaking, of course, of rape cases and the fact that there are literally thousands of rape kits sitting in storage waiting to be tested because local LEO's claim they don't have the money to test them all.
This is unacceptable. As a rape survivor, I was lucky enough to have had an honest pair of LEO's take my case, and ensure my attackers received the justice they deserved. Of course, it helps that I actually fought back, hard. Unfortunately, not everyone can say that. We, as a society, can really and truly rid ourselves of rapists if we could spend same money we do for other less important things like a bridge to nowhere, and a whole slew of other less important things. Image all the cold cases that could be closed?
I have to thank the publisher for sending me signed copies of the first 4 books. I have also heard that this series is in active development for a possible TV show, and that the author has written book # 5 in the series which releases later this month. Apparently, the producers don't want the author to end the series, and there is still so much more to explore with Cara before pulling the plug.