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Next Victim
Michael Prescott
Signet, 374 pages

Next Victim
Michael Prescott
Michael Prescott's other novels include The Shadow Hunter, Stealing Faces and Comes the Dark.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Shadow Hunter

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

Among the many things that terrify us, serial killers and chemical weapons are right at the top of the list. The last thing we need is a meeting of the two, so, naturally, thrill master Michael Prescott decides to throw the lethal combination together. What results is a case that will stretch the resources of the FBI and the strength of one special agent who has pursued the killer for years.

Tess McCallum wants to stop the serial killer Mobius, and dead-or-alive makes no difference to her. Actually, she wants him dead, just like her lover who Mobius murdered, just as she was closing in on him the last time. Whatever the risk to her own life, Tess is determined to end the killer's spree. What she doesn't know yet is that Mobius has become more deadly than she could ever have guessed.

Amanda Pierce is a woman on the run, looking for a buyer for the deadly chemical weapon she stole from her employer. She doesn't care to whom she sells it, only that she gets enough money to disappear before the Feds catch up. Unfortunately for her and the public, she is never going to make that exchange; she has just latched onto a charming serial killer for cover and her running is over forever.

From the seemingly divergent paths of these two woman comes an intersection that puts the entire world at risk. After all, killing is Mobius' obsession and the means to multiply his death count by tens of thousands is just too enticing to resist. A serial killer is about to make the change to a mass murderer and he couldn't be more pleased.

Prescott's pacing is taut, the action rapid-fire, just as his fans have come to expect. The sensation of time ticking down to zero is even more pressing in Next Victim, with a human time bomb and a genuine one coming ever closer to detonation.

Next Victim poses some interesting questions, also. Would a serial killer, used to the immediacy and exacting nature of his kills abandon that pattern if a method for more massive destruction fell into his hands? How different is this scenario from the panics since 11 September 2001? Certainly, terrorists display all the earmarks of sociopaths. Is the difference in the one-to-one murder versus the indiscriminate swath of death offered by their weapons of choice?

Taking topics straight from the nightly news, Prescott delivers another death race of a novel. If you haven't been frightened enough by current events, let him crank the tension up exponentially. Face a danger that's all too easy to imagine... once you let yourself start thinking about it.

Copyright © 2003 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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