DANGEROUS GAMES: SINCLAIR & McCALLUM, Book 1
Michael Prescott (author), Suehyla El Attar (narrator)
Audible Studios, (Unabridged) 11 hours
Try to imagine being trapped in the darkness. Alone. Shackled and left to die. Knowing that no one was going to find you until it was too late, if ever. Feel the desperation and despair of waiting there, hidden from the world, completely alone in the cold, dark, damp of the maze that is the Los Angeles storm-drain system. How many of us would go mad long before the torrents of water came to cover us? And how does Michael Prescott know exactly what we fear the most? Being that tuned in to our inner terrors just isn’t natural, is it?
Coming forward to track down the psycho who is holding the city hostage as one woman after another meets a watery death are two of Prescott’s most memorable characters. Abby Sinclair, the unorthodox, lethal private operative of The Shadow Hunter is taking her usual back door approach to move in under the radar of the police and the FBI agents already on the case. One of those feds, Tess McCallum, should be familiar. She did battle with another maniac, Mobius, in Next Victim. Getting these two together guarantees that sparks are going to fly. It also means the Rain Man just made two unstoppable enemies. If they can work in concert without killing each other, they just might be the city’s final hope.
Tess is not pleased to be back in the city where she faced off against Mobius, and where she lost the love of her life. Of course, the local FBI force is equally unhappy with the circumstances, but until the Rain Man is stopped, they are stuck with each other. A tense situation is made infinitely worse for Tess when she realises she will have to cooperate with the rebellious Abby, who refuses to work within the law. But Abby has made a connection the authorities have missed and her often-felonious investigations provide vital information that is simply beyond the official channels.
In addition to tapping into our deepest fears, Prescott knows that each of us changes, especially with trauma; his characters have… well… not exactly evolved, but reappeared as substantially altered women. Both have suffered losses that, in Abby’s case, have hardened an already tough personality, producing a ruthless, lawless shell with little of the “old” vulnerable Abby surviving. Tess has taken her heartache and advancement in the Bureau and built a life focussed solely on work, absent any semblance of a personal life, clinging to the framework of bureaucracy to give her structure and reassurance. Both women are subtly less human than when readers first encountered them.
Nobody ratchets up the suspense like Prescott, forcing the ticking-clock into our faces so that we cannot forget for a moment exactly what is at stake in the Rain Man’s game. And looking inside his heroines we see the tremendous toll even successful investigations exact. With all of Prescott’s talents brought to bear, the pressure reaches new heights, which is no more than what readers expect from this author by now.