“Crosscut” by Meg Gardiner

In the fourth Evan Dalaney novel, Evan returns to China Lake for her high school reunion and discovers that the death toll among her classmates is unusually high. After two classmates are brutally murdered, Evan suspects something is up and begins to piece together what might be killing her classmates.

It all stems back to a day when the group took a field trip to the local Navy base and were exposed to some kind of experiment. The results are still haunting and affecting the group to this day and it also created a serial killer who is hunting down the people on the trip and slowly eliminating them. Evan is forced to dig into her past to find answers and to try and stop the killer before he or she kills again. And when Evan discovers she’s pregnant, things become even more urgent.

As a check your brain at the door and just enjoy the ride, “Crosscut” works well. But the problems of having a first-person perspective begin to break through as the novel progresses. The story requires that some events unfold outside of Evan’s viewpoint and Meg Gardiner shows us those events. It’s all about upping the suspence quotient, but unfortunately it proves distracting in the novel’s final third. Gardiner is forced to jump between three perspectives in the novel’s final pages and it makes the ending seem a bit forced and overly melodramatic.

But the elements that come before it make it worth enduring some clunky writing in the final pages. The story unfolds at a quick pace that keeps the pages turning and will hook you right in. The overall conspiracy nature of what’s going on is fascinating and done well enough to keep you guessing about certain elements, all the way up to the final revelations.

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Filed under mystery, review, Series Challenge

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