I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am a sucker for a really good serial killer thriller. Trigger Point, by Sean Eads, fit my criteria entirely.
A serial killer, using online advertising services is targeting prostitutes and murdering them. Kathy, the owner of a massage school, finds herself drawn into the case when one of her students becomes the latest victim. Fighting her own feelings and the media’s perception of massage therapists, Kathy enlists Detective Greg Beacon (and her former boyfriend) to help her seek justice. But what Kathy does not know is that this serial killer isn’t targeting random sex workers. He is targeting her. And, he’s getting closer.
From the first pages, I was sucked right into the story. This one has a killer opening (I cannot help the puns, they just flow out of me!) and I found myself completely sucked into the story. Eads is able to capture his reader’s attention. The novel is narrated, for the most part, through the eyes of Kathy (a massage therapist and owner of a massage school). I found her to be a strong and likeable character and although there were parts that I found to be a little bit hokey, I ultimately the diversity and the incorporation of massage therapy and Reiki into this novel. It was a little bit different and made it stand out.
The remaining bits of the novel is told through the perspective of the unnamed serial killer and his victims. These parts were fantastic; I really love when an author is able to creep me out and Eads certainly did!
Was this the scariest book I have read? No. Did I feel like it maybe went on a tad too long? Yes. However, it did keep me guessing and I was surprised at the final revelation, which I did enjoy!
If you are looking for a serial killer thriller that is a little bit different, then check this one out!
Care to read a bit of Trigger Point? Keep reading for an excerpt!
At least this guy’s cute, Erin thought, setting up her massage table. His e-mail had said his name was Andrew, and if that was true she figured he went by Andy most of the time. He was a preppy kid in khaki pants and a white Oxford shirt, maybe twenty-two, which would make him five years younger than her. He had a clean-cut look and somewhat shaggy blond hair and a trace of acne on his chin where he hadn’t quite surrendered his adolescence. He looked vulnerable to Erin, and she liked that. She smiled at him as she locked the table in place. He smiled back from where he sat across the motel room on an armless tub chair. All the motels she’d ever been in had that type of chair. Was it some sort of requirement, even in a place as foul as this? He sat hunched forward with his elbows on his knees. Erin watched him as she moved automatically with her massage equipment, bringing out small bottles of essential oils, followed by towels. Like a marine, she could have assembled her equipment in the dark. They felt like props to her now, though. Erin knew that’s exactly what they were.
Andy. She liked the sound of the name. Liked the wholesomeness of it. Liked anything that could distract her from the task at hand. She’d felt so unhealthy these past few months, so terribly…sinful, she realized. The thought surprised her. She didn’t consider herself religious in any way. No, the dirt she felt was not sin but a sense of self-betrayal. As she finished maneuvering her table, Erin pictured the face of her mentor, Kathy. Kathy had been the greatest teacher Erin ever knew, a woman of knowledge and confidence. Erin graduated massage school with no other thought than to emulate Kathy and make her proud. She’d been successful until the past year. The economy had tanked and times were difficult. Her younger brother finally wanted to start college and needed money.
She had to do what she did.
The expression she imagined on Kathy’s face was not one of pride.
I’m betraying her too, Erin thought.
Andy. She looked over at him again. He met her gaze only a moment before glancing elsewhere. He’s so shy. She liked that, too.
She could already tell his physique was perfect. Of course, a person’s looks had never been a consideration to her when she entered massage school. As Kathy had taught her, all people needed to feel secure about their bodies, and massage therapists could help them do that by being professional and nonjudgmental. “There are people who suffer needlessly because they’re afraid of going to the doctor and being asked to take their shirt off,” Kathy had said. “People are exposing themselves to you because they’re desperate for healing. Don’t ever fail to honor that. Always use your hands to lift up, not to tear down.”
This was different. Erin knew she was here to be feasted upon. Her massage training and her tremendous skills as a healer were now merely a legal pretense, a cover for this sordid encounter—her tenth.
Once more she pictured Kathy’s disappointed look.
“I’m ready,” she said.
“The shirt,” he said.
Erin looked down at her chest. “O-okay.”
His tone surprised her a little. It was direct but not demanding. It carried more suggestion than command, as if they were a couple on a date. Still her fingers had problems with her blouse. They always did when the client wanted her to strip right away. She did not know why she kept wearing anything more complicated than a T-shirt to these sessions. Shirts with buttons just prolonged the agony.
The shirt came off. Andrew still did not move. He was looking at her now, his face still so oddly innocent. Andy. She smiled. She so badly wanted him to be different than her first nine creeps. He must be different. Most guys were rubbing their crotch by now, acting like they weren’t even going to get on the table. Andy was rubbing his temples like he had a serious headache.
“Are you okay, Andy?”
“What?” He dropped his hands and looked around, as if surprised to find himself in this room. He clasped his hands in his lap.
“All right. I got mine off. How about you?” Erin said. She hardly believed herself. She sounded coy, flirtatious. She’d never acted like that before.
He stood up and unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a deliciously toned chest. She marveled at his physique. Why had he sought out an erotic massage? What had brought him to troll the Erotic Services section of Craigslist? Her previous clients had been horrible losers who e-mailed her fake photos. Andy hadn’t even had a photo, making her fear the worst. But he was so attractive. Was he married? Or just a thrill seeker? Erin pondered these questions as she came around the table. She patted the surface, asking him to approach.
For a moment, he did not move.
“Nothing,” he said. “I just wanted to—memorize you. Smile for me.”
He made a motion with his hands, as if he held an invisible camera.
Erin shifted a little and smiled. He made a clicking motion with his finger. “There you are. Your picture’s developing in my head. I’ll never forget you now.” He rubbed his temples again and grimaced.
Great. He’s weird after all.
“I think you actually could use a massage, Andy. We’ll see if we can work out whatever muscle tension is causing your headache, then—”
“Let’s just get started,” he said.
As he came forward, he unbuckled his belt and unbuttoned his pants. Erin swallowed. All her usual nervousness was there, but this time she actually wanted to touch her client, to enjoy the firm suppleness of his muscles. She could sense his headache and knew she could remove the pain if he’d just let her. But he was not here for that. As he unzipped his fly, she saw a big erection in his underwear. His right hand slipped under the waistband and grabbed it.
“Andy,” she said, her voice trembling, “please at least get on the—”
His hand came out of his underwear holding something. His erection was gone. Erin barely had time to register it was not his penis creating the bulge. He had something tucked in his crotch, something he now aimed at her. A chemical spray struck her face, blinding both eyes at once. She toppled back, clawed hands waving. She struggled to right herself, coughing, sputtering. A strong, implacable grip threw her onto her own massage table. She was choking too much to cry out, even though her terror tried to work itself out in a scream. She heard the rest of her clothes tear even as she felt the room’s cool conditioned air shock areas of her body she never thought would be exposed.
Cold steel bit into her wrists.
He was cuffing her and strapping her down!
“Oh please don’t! Please don’t do this to me, Andy!” She started to scream.
The young man shoved her own shirt deep into her mouth. She tasted traces of detergent and perfume in the fabric. Her vision began to clear. Through tears, she saw him standing there, head cocked as if listening to a whisper.
He looked down at her.
“They told me to tell you that my name’s not Andy.”
Those were the last words Erin heard.
Thanks to Hex Publishing and the author for a copy of Trigger Point; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5402771.Sean_Eads