Boston, MA, Present Day: Detective D. D. Warren and associates have discovered a murder victim, a woman named Christine Ryan, and the crime scene is astonishing. Post-mortem, her skin has been shredded from her body, and apparently the killer has taken some for a collection.
Forty years ago, a serial killer named Harry Day utilized a similar signature in his killings. And although he is dead, he has left behind two daughters: Shana Day, who has been in prison for thirty years for killing a boy in the neighborhood; and Adeline Glen, a psychiatrist, who was adopted in childhood by a researcher who was open about her background.
Adeline also has a strange condition: she feels no physical pain. A condition diagnosed after her sister Shana took the scissors to her bare arms in one of their foster homes.
Back to the present, we see D. D. checking out the crime scene afterwards, in the middle of the night. And suddenly, she senses a presence…and then finds herself catapulting backward down the stairs. Her injuries are serious, including a very painful avulsion fracture, and they keep her off active duty, but after going for physical therapy and seeing a therapist for pain management, who happens to be Dr. Adeline Glen, she is eagerly helping to find the killer whom they have dubbed the Rose Killer. He/she uses chloroform to kill them, and then strips the skin. A rose and a bottle of champagne rest on the nightstand nearby.
As the killer adds more victims to his list, the detectives search out every possible suspect, narrowing the quest until it takes them back to what was happening in the neighborhood, thirty years before, trying to determine if the past is informing the present.
Narrated alternately in the third person voice of D.D. and the first person perspective of Adeline Day, we also see occasional snippets from the unknown killer, ratcheting up the suspense as we peek inside the “heads” of them all.
What are the connections between the killings today and those enacted by Harry Day? What, if anything, connects what is happening now with Shana Day’s crime? And who, among many possible suspects is “staging” these scenes, almost as if he has a grand plan of some sort? Why is any of this happening now, and does a website for serial killer memorabilia figure into the chain of events? Finally, will D. D. and her crew find him/her before he settles upon his greatest target yet?
Themes of seriously dysfunctional families, foster care, nature vs. nurture, and the prison system are predominant in Fear Nothing: A Detective D.D. Warren Novel, and remind us of the dark side of life that has only intensified with the passage of time.
I like how the author reels in the reader with the multiple perspectives, and moves the story along by building the suspense and adding new red herrings at every turn. Definitely a read for those who love psychological thrillers and this series. 5 stars.