Title: Beautiful Maids All in a Row
Author: Jennifer Harlow
Series: Iris Ballard #1
Publication: October 11th 2016 by Alibi
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo
In this white-knuckle thriller for fans of Lisa Gardner and Karin Slaughter, a brilliant, troubled forensic psychologist finds herself matching wits with a frighteningly talented sociopath.
Dr. Iris Ballard’s glory days are behind her, so when Luke Hudson, her former FBI partner and onetime lover, asks for help constructing a psychological profile of an elusive serial killer who murders single mothers and dumps their bodies in the woods, Iris turns him away. She just wants to be left alone with her infomercials, her German Shepherd, and her vodka. That is, until she gets a peek at the case files.
The media has dubbed him “the Woodsman.” But after Iris learns the sickening details held back from the press, and as she sets foot onto the scene of his latest crime, she assembles a portrait of a more complicated, enigmatic, meticulous man. Control is his motivation. He thrives on it. Soon he even tries to manipulate the investigation by contacting Iris, hoping to rattle the woman he considers an intellectual equal.
The game is on. Iris thinks she has a read on her target, enough to push his buttons, to make him lose control. But when the Woodsman gains the upper hand, Iris faces the most painful reckoning of all—with her own violent past.
I’ve gotta say out of all the books Jennifer Harlow has written, this one is definitely one of her best (I feel like I say this about every new book she writes lol). She writes the best heroines. So it’s no surprise that I absolutely loved Iris Ballard. She definitely was flawed and a total wreck when the book started, which made her more realistic to me, so I loved how once she got back to work with the FBI when Luke Hudson, her former partner asked her for help with the Woodsman killer case. Her inner thoughts and humor were actually right up my alley. She made me laugh a couple of times out loud with the things she was thinking about and said. And also, she doesn’t take shit from anyone. Gotta love that!
The cat and mouse game between Iris and the killer was really suspenseful, even when she knew who he was. The way the author wrote this guy was raising the hair on my arms. I never knew what was going to happen from what moment to the other so the unexpectedness of it all made this story even better.
I also really liked the relationship between Iris and Luke. They have quite a lot of history and chemistry between them, which made the dialogue between them always fierce. I’m definitely rooting for them. The ending was sort of abrubt and explosive so I can’t wait for the next book in this series to find out where things are going next for Iris.
Overall, I don’t read a lot of thrillers but when I do I like them to be just like Beautiful Maids All in a Row. It was well written with a protagonist who is sharp tongued but also flawed who went up against a arrogant yet intelligent sociopath where I wasn’t sure what he wasn’t going to do next. It was suspenseful right until the very end and I loved it all. I can’t wait for the next book!
Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Atlanta home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills.