by Jennifer Hillier
Review by Harriet Klausner
Gallery Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781451664546
Date: 07 August 2012 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Seattle PD homicide detective Mike Torrance calls his retired partner Jerry Isaac to meet him at the Sweet Chariot Inn where a woman Brenda Stich, who uses the professional name Brianna, was found with her throat cut. Jerry leaves a private investigative stakeout to see what Mike wants. Mike shows him the victim was strangled by a zip tie you can buy in any hardware store. However, the reason Mike called Jerry is the message carved into Brenda's skin by a knife when she was still alive: FREE ABBY MADDOX. As his nightmare is about to stand trial, Jerry has a scar across his throat and his voice totally ruined complements of Abby when she attacked him last year while he worked a case for a client being stalked by Maddox’s boyfriend serial killer Ethan Wolfe (see Creep).
Stunned, the private detective may be physically healing but psychologically the lunatic left him shattered and seeing the message shakes him badly. He and Mike know that many people believe Abby is innocent of any crime; just guilty of association when she made a poor choice for a boyfriends. The police know that Jerry's scars are proof of this vicious psychopath, but unsuccessfully seek evidence that links her to Wolfe's killing spree. Now an unknown adversary kills the innocent to free Maddox. Jerry knows he should walk away, but he cannot.
Jerry is an interesting protagonist who has not recovered his bravado after his traumatic encounter with Abby in the Creep, in spite of people like his wife Anne being there for him. He cannot believe there are lunatics out there who support the liberation of Maddox and is stunned when one kills in support of this outrageous movement. Abby retains the same personality she had in the previous book; a fascinating schizoid who is a submissive when it comes to her lover, but a deranged lioness when it comes to protecting her love.
Freak is an exhilarating serial killer thriller that behooves the audience to read the previous tale Creep to know how the key players got to this point. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Jerry sees the message on the hooker's torso and never slows down, with a shocking final twist involving who abets Maddox. Although the attempts at humor to lighten the tension seems out of place and serial killer novels floods the market, readers will want to know who the hidden person behind the "Free Abby Maddox" movement is.