Ryker Townsend is an FBI Profiler with an advantage. He doesn’t count it as an advantage and to him, it is more of a curse than a blessing. While most profilers rely on what they can determine from clues left at the scene, Ryker begins having nightmares giving him images into what the victim experienced. The dreams become particularly gruesome as they deal with a serial killer known as the Totem Killer (TK) who dismembers his victims. But, he left one victim whole placing him at the top of a totem pole. That victim is Nathan Applegate. Ryker travels to Applegate’s home in Alaska and begins to work with Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Justine Peterson. She is more engaged in this case than he first realizes as she’d had a close and intimate relationship with Nathan. Time is not on their side now that TK seems to have taken another victim.
This story moves along at a very quick pace. At times, the reader needs to process Ryker’s thoughts to determine if they are real or a dream. Then, once he becomes injured and begins to hallucinate, the reader’s job becomes even more difficult. And, though it sounds confusing, it’s not. I considered it a great challenge and I loved the additional mystification. The story is undoubtedly gritty and not for the faint of heart. The story teases of a love triangle, but it never fully develops. SA Lucinda Crowley feels great affection for Ryker, but he seems not to be aware. When he meets the beautiful Justine Peterson, the scenes make the reader wonder what may develop. This is one of the best FBI profiler stories I’ve read with flawed, relatable characters who remain strong in the face of danger. The Last Victim is the first in the Ryker Townsend series. Rating: 4.5 out of 5.