What Amazon says
“A fascinating peek into the mind and machinations of a sociopath . . . Absorbing, at times gory thriller featuring an oddly compelling killer ‘heroine.'”– Kirkus
Warning: this is NOT a cozy mystery or your typical thriller. Brooke Walton is brilliant, ambitious, and twisted.
As a first-year medical student at Rothaker University, Brooke is determined to win a coveted scholarship for future surgeons. She’s thriving, until a classmate experiences a family tragedy and must leave school. The situation creates conflict with Rachael, a rival student. When Rachael disappears without a trace, detectives descend on campus and the hunt for the truth begins.
This is the second book in the Brooke Walton series and it takes the story to a whole new level.
Brooke has been accepted into the medical programme at the renowned Rothaker university. Despite the grotty dormitories occupied by the medical students, the huge debt she has taken on in order to study further and the fact that the medical faculty is situated in a dangerous and seedy area due to its proximity to the teaching hospital, Brooke is delighted to finally be embarking on this new phase of her dream to become a surgeon. She is hoping that everything will go smoothly at this new institution and she will not need to take any drastic actions to remove obstacles, in particular people, from her path to success, as she has had to do in the past.
On her first day in her new accommodation, Brooke meets Rachael, another first year student with an intelligence, work ethic and determination to rival her own, but with an overriding goal to help others. The initial meeting between Brooke, an exceptionally good looking woman, and Rachael, a self righteous, do gooder who is intent on always taking the high moral ground in any situation, does not go well and they dislike each other from the start. The author did a sterling job with the creation of Rachael as, despite her good intentions and high ethics, she comes across as being an insufferable prig which sets the reader up to dislike her which makes it difficult to empathise with her later in the book.
Brooke also meets Xander, another first year medical student with an interesting past. Xander chose to do two years of military service in Afghanistan before taking his place at Rothaker to study medicine. Within a short while of his arrival, he starts experiencing flashbacks and suffering nightmares as the medical work programme kicks in and he is exposed to classes in bisection and anatomy. Xander, like Brooke, is an exceptional athlete and ultra good looking so it is natural for the two of them to pair up and start running and exercising together.
The introduction of Xander was a clever move by the author for two primary reasons. Firstly, his story and the post traumatic stress disorder symptoms he displays are fascinating and provide an intriguing sub-plot, and secondly, his relationship with Brooke facilitates the telling of parts of the book from his point of view. Xander and Brooke become more than friends and as he gets to know her better and spend more time with her he gradually starts to see and hear things that act at warning bells to him and he starts to question Brooke’s character and motivations.
Brooke is a serial killer. She is completely focused and determined to succeed with an amazing intellect and not abilities to empathise with others or understand their emotional pain. Despite these characteristics, there are so many things about Brooke that are wonderful and she has some endearing characteristics which create a conflict in the reader as you find yourself routing for a serial killer to come out on top. The relationship between Xander and Brooke was particularly conflicting because they are both so interesting and you want their relationship to succeed.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly and will definitely read the next book in this series.