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Stranded: Maggie O'Dell    by Alex Kava order for
by Alex Kava
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Alex Kava's Stranded is the eleventh in her bestselling mystery series starring FBI special agent/profiler Maggie O'Dell. This time she's after a truck stop serial killer, but who is really hunting whom? It's a cat-and-mouse game in which the hunted psychopath lays an elusive trail for Maggie to follow; but to what end?

The novel opens on a young college student, Noah, running from a killer who has forced him to do the unspeakable. He survives and is returned to his family but the best friend who was with him does not. Noah's guilt is overwhelming.

Next, readers join forces with Maggie and her partner, R. J. Tully as they dig up bones outside Sioux City, Iowa. They have been assigned to the FBI's Highway Serial Killings Initiative, started several years earlier. But what sent them to the Midwest is a map left by the killer on the burned remains of Maggie's kitchen counter.

The Bureau calls in dog whisperer Ryder Creed to help find any more bodies in the vicinity - there's an immediate attraction between Ryder and Maggie. And the killer is there too, up close and personal with Maggie, whom he refers to as Magpie. Why is he showing off for her; what are his plans for her; and what's with the orange socks?

Tully's in a relationship with Dr. Gwen Patterson, a forensic psychologist who is also on the task force, and who presently has some tough issues in her life. Gwen interviews a jailed serial arsonist, who seems to know a lot about a serial killer named Jack and where his bodies lie. But Jack has laid his own plans, and his Magpie is a big part of them.

Stranded is a suspenseful chiller - read and enjoy it, but be warned that it will leave you wary of truck stops for some time to come.

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