Author: Ellison Cooper
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Page Count: 368
My rating: 3 stars
About the book:
FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair hunts for evil in the deepest recesses of the human mind. Still reeling from the death of her fiancé, she wants nothing more than to focus on her research into the brains of serial killers. But when the Washington D.C. police stumble upon a gruesome murder scene involving a girl who was slowly starved to death while held captive in a cage, Sayer is called in to lead the investigation. When the victim is identified as the daughter of a high profile senator, Sayer is thrust into the spotlight.
As public pressure mounts, she discovers that another girl has been taken and is teetering on the brink of death. With evidence unraveling around her, Sayer races to save the second victim but soon realizes that they are hunting a killer with a dangerous obsession…a killer who is closer than she thought.
Caged by Ellison Cooper is a police procedural thriller with a bit of a twist on the lead investigator. Sayer Altair is with the FBI and a neuroscientist that has been doing a study of serial killers or more specifically their brains and trying to find anomalies that would distinguish them from normal human brains.
When two patrol officers get a call to an abandoned residence to check out a call to 911 from young girl they find the home closed up tight. Neighbors say they haven’t seen anyone coming or going there and without a definite point of origin for the call they leave. Twelve days later a call comes in for a horrible smell from the same abandoned home. Not only do they find the body of a young woman but both officers get shot.
Sayer Altair gets the call to lead the investigation into the homicide of the girl when it looks as if she was left alone to starve to death in a cage. The victim is soon identified as the daughter of a senator bringing the case into the spotlight and with evidence leading them the wrong direction Sayer finds herself struggling to make sense of the case when another victim is in danger.
First I’ll say I’m a bit hit or miss with police procedurals, things need to line up just right to make me love them overall. Caged really started off a strong read and I thought I would fall in love with it but slowly along the way I found little things here and there that brought my rating down a bit with this one.
First, I liked the idea of Sayer being a neuroscientist but at times I don’t think i was used enough in the book to make it stand out. The characters in here didn’t really stand out much other than the detail about Sayer so I didn’t really fall in love with them. The author seemed to concentrate on making the investigation feel real and sometimes too many little details get a tad boring to me but on the flip side of that some of the things also didn’t feel believable.. say calling up the lab about a test and they run one while on the phone, er those things take time.
So as you can see I was a bit up and down with this story as I was going along. Then I’d say fairly early on for this type of read I saw right through and picked out the killer too. Now there were plenty of suspicions and suspects tossed in so perhaps it was just plain luck but I’d also would have been more excited to be wrong so in the end the book ended up a bit meh for me.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Ellison Cooper has a Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA, with a background in archaeology, cultural neuroscience, ancient religion, colonialism, and human rights. She has conducted fieldwork in Central America, West Africa, Micronesia, and Western Europe. She has worked as a murder investigator in Washington DC, and is a certified K9 Search and Rescue Federal Disaster Worker. She now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and son.