It’s been almost a year since I last visited Hilltop, Alaska, and Brenda Novak’s intriguing and multifaceted characters. I’ve longed to return to the story not only to see what Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her delicious boyfriend Sergeant Benjamin Murphy, aka Amarok, have been up to but also to check in on another riveting character. I’m reluctant to admit it, but that character is Jasper Moore. Jasper is the ex-boyfriend-turned-serial-killer who tortured Evelyn and her friends for days when they were just teenagers. Jasper was never caught, and Evelyn is the only one of her friends who survived the horrific nightmare. That terrible tragedy is what ultimately led Evelyn to her line of work – studying and unraveling the mysterious minds of psychopaths at the newly established Hanover House. Jasper is not a Dexter Morgan-esque vigilante serial killer – you don’t root for him by any means. He is a terrifying individual, which may be why I feel the need to keep tabs on him.
In Hello Again, Evelyn is just beginning to work with newly convicted inmate Dr. Lyman Bishop, a man reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter. He is a highly educated biomedical researcher who stands accused of performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims to make them more compliant before killing them; but with new evidence coming to light, it’s possible Dr. Bishop has been wrongly convicted and, if so, could very well have his conviction overturned just as Evelyn has begun to get under his skin. And in the midst of these gripping events, Amarok’s tireless work may have finally paid off in getting him closer to locating Jasper Moore. Or is Jasper the one who is getting closer?
This second installment in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles is an outstanding follow-up to Her Darkest Nightmare, filled with suspense and thrills but still allowing for a more personal storyline with the romantic relationship between Evelyn and Amarok (though I could do without the return of Amarok’s ex-girlfriend…. Can we ship her off to a warmer climate asap?). But it is the ending of this sequel that will leave readers aghast and on the edge of their seat – not a cliffhanger but a glimpse into what’s about to happen next. Those last lines are so brilliant and shocking that I can hardly wait for the next book. Ms. Novak has set it up to be a mind-blowing rollercoaster of a story, and the anticipation is both sweet and agonizing. I recommend this series for thriller lovers, though I advise you to start with book one, Her Darkest Nightmare, to fully appreciate the growth of the characters and the evolvement of the story. You can also grab the short novella Hanover House for a closer look into Evelyn and Jasper’s history for free here or at Amazon for only $.99.
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