LAST BREATH by George Shuman

I finished the second novel in the Sherry Moore series just as quickly as the first, and I already have the third sitting on my side table at home. The concept of a blind woman who can view the final moments of any dead body she touches may not appeal to some who argue the practicalities of it, but if you can put that aside, the twists and turns are of the finest degree, with enough detail to give you the chills while reading.

Last Breath opens with a fairly grizzly murder, laying the foudnation for the book and introducing us to a ruthless killer whose sickening modus operandi involves repeated asphyxiation. Fast forward 23 years and women are going missing. They are being abducted from their work places, and without much to go on, the police are at a standstill. Then one night, a high speed chase results in the death of two teenage boys and an abducted victim… and the case appears to have solved itself. When the bodies of three women are found in an old container in a closed-down plant, the case blows wide open again, and this time Sherry Moore is called in. All is not well in Sherry’s world – still reeling from the death of John Payne in 18 Seconds, she is unstable at best, fighting a war inside that threatens to destroy her. Her visions from the three women send her over the edge, and Sherry gives into the darkness of her own demons.

All the while, the killer, ever-increasing in confidence, continues his brutal work. When Sherry finds herself in the presence of the killer, it acts as a turning point for her and she once again assists the investigation. But the killer, now aware of Sherry’s involvement, keeps his identity just out of reach. Sherry, through the eyes of the victims, finds herself looking into the eyes of a madman, and yet something is obstructing his face, preventing any identification. As the murders gain in intensity, the police find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with one of the most sadistic killers in modern crime fiction, the result of which could be deadly. As Sherry begins to piece together the fragments of the murdered women’s memories, links and patterns begin to emerge. But can the agents take the killer down in time? Or will one of them pay the highest price possible for good detective work… with their life?

A rollercoaster ride of a novel, with an intensity that doesn’t let go. The story could perhaps have been simplified, but it would have been lacking the depth of a novel that literally grips you and sucks you in. You find yourself holding your breath with anticipation, and cheering for every right move the police make. An unbelievable sequel, and I’m hoping that installment number three will deliver again.

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