Sunday, February 2, 2020

Book Review: The Third to Die, by Allison Brennan

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

The victim, Victoria Manners, had been prepped. Now that her body was naked and clean, it was clear that the killer had cut her body sternum to navel, then sliced it three times across the midsection, giving it the appearance of having been gutted. It seemed ritualistic. Kara Quinn had been right.

Three times across the midsection. Three is important to him. March 3. Three victims, three days apart. Three years to cool off and start again. Three.

The wounds were so deep that no one could have survived even the first cut.

While observing autopsies wasn’t routine for FBI agents, Matt Costa had done his share over the years, sitting in on a couple dozen, starting with two during his training at Quantico. He wasn’t concerned about his reaction, though Andy Knolls looked a little green.

“No puking, Knolls,” Matt whispered.

I was originally a little confused – how can the first book in the series be called The Third to Die? The title is about this killer’s MO, not the rest of the characters.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: The Third to Die, by Allison Brennan
Detective Kara Quinn, on leave from the LAPD, is on an early morning jog in her hometown of Liberty Lake when she comes upon the body of a young nurse. The manner of death shows a pattern of highly controlled rage. Meanwhile in DC, FBI special agent Mathias Costa is staffing his newly minted Mobile Response Team. Word reaches Matt that the Liberty Lake murder fits the profile of the compulsive Triple Killer. It will be the first case for the MRT. This time they have a chance to stop this zealous if elusive killer before he strikes again. But only if they can figure out who he is and where he is hiding before he disappears for another three years. The stakes are higher than ever before, because if they fail, one of their own will be next…

The characters were my favorite part of this book, so I’m thrilled that it’s the first in a new series! The author has introduced us to Matt Costa, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s new Mobile Response Team. They are not quite fully staffed when they hear about a murder that is likely the seventh by a serial killer who has been waiting for three years since his last attack. They have only three days to get what exists of their team across the country, garner support and resources from local agencies, and find enough evidence to stop the killer before he strikes again.

I have no actual law enforcement history, other than reading books. But this was definitely a believable police procedural for me. All of the FBI agents and local police detectives and officers had their unique areas of expertise, as well as their contributing personality quirks to deal with. I’m looking forward to spending more time with all of them in the subsequent books in the series.

Overall, I’d give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I loved it, and may read it again to check out more of the detail in the killer’s evil plan, and the excellent detective work by the good guys to solve it and stop the carnage.

{click here to pre-order - The Third to Die will be out on February 4, 2020}

Becki Bayley is currently enjoying winter hibernation and living a thousand lives through books. You can check out more book reviews and summaries of her brief social interactions at


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