The Face of Death (Smoky Barrett #2) by Cody McFadyen

The Face of Death

I want to talk to Smoky Barrett or I’ll kill myself.

The girl is sixteen, at the scene of a grisly triple homicide, and has a gun to her head. She claims The Stranger killed her adoptive family, that he’s been following her all her life, killing everyone she ever loved, and that no one believes her.

No one has. Until now.

Special Agent Smoky Barrett is head of the violent crimes unit in Los Angeles, the part of the FBI reserved for tracking down the worst of the worst. Her team has been handpicked from among the nations elite law enforcement specialists and they are as obsessed and relentless as the psychos they hunt; they’ll have to be to deal with this case.

For another vicious double homicide reveals a killer embarked on a dark crusade of trauma and death: an artist who’s molding sixteen-year-old Sarah into the perfect victim – and the ultimate weapon. But Smoky Barrett has another, more personal reason for catching The Stranger – an adopted daughter and a new life that are worth protecting at any cost.

This time Smoky is going to have to put it all on the line. Because The Stranger is all too real, all too close, and all too relentless. And when he finally shows his face, if she,s not ready to confront her worst fear, Smoky won,t have time to do anything but die.

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This is a book that will not be for everyone. This is a book that is scary and horrible and upsetting. I’m a huge fan of mysteries and thrillers and there were nights that I couldn’t read this novel before I went to sleep because I didn’t want to go to sleep upset. It’s a tough, tough read.

The first thing that I loved about the novel (and the series) is the cast of characters. Each character is flawed and scarred both physically and mentally. Put everyone together and you have a team that won’t let anyone hurt one of their own and will protect one another to the death. I loved it.

I also really enjoyed the mystery and how Sarah’s diary came into play with solving the mystery. It was really hard to read about what Sarah went through, but it was also really important to understand where her mind was at when she meet Smoky.

So my husband read the novel before I did (he loved it) and he mentioned that I would probably tear up at the end of the novel. We were commuting home on the train and he saw that I was approaching the end of the book. He watched my face completely crumble during the last paragraph and I sobbed like a baby. Face of Death just pulled at all of my emotions and I loved it when a novel does that to you.

4 calculators out of a potential 5. I would recommend this novel (and series) to those that enjoy dark thrillers. Make sure to start the series from the beginning since there are spoilers from book 1 (Shadow Man) that are in book 2.

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Shadow Man (Smoky Barrett #1) by Cody McFadyen

Shadow Man

Once, Special Agent Smoky Barrett hunted serial killers for the FBI. She was one of the best–until a madman terrorized her family, killed her husband and daughter, and left her face scarred and her soul brutalized. Turning the tables on the killer, Smoky shot him dead–but her life was shattered forever. 

Now Smoky dreams about picking up her weapon again. She dreams about placing the cold steel between her lips and pulling the trigger one last time. Because for a woman who’s lost everything, what is there left to lose? 

She’s about to find out.

In all her years at the Bureau, Smoky has never encountered anyone like him–a new and fascinating kind of monster, a twisted genius who defies profilers’ attempts to understand him. And he’s issued Smoky a direct challenge, coaxing her back from the brink with the only thing that could convince her to live.

The killer videotaped his latest crime–an act of horror that left a child motherless–then sent a message addressed to Agent Smoky Barrett. The message is enough to shock Smoky back to work, back to her FBI team. And that child awakens something in Smoky she thought was gone forever.

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Shadow Man is so, so twisted and certainly not for everyone. It’s dark, it’s creepy and I LOVED it!!

Smoky is such an interesting character. You feel for her right at the first page of the novel. She has just had everything taken from her and has to decide how to survive. Plus, you have this madman who is coming after her and going after those who remain in her life.

This is such a crazy ride. I wasn’t sure where the novel was going to go, but it didn’t disappoint. I was shocked by the ending and how everything wrapped up together.

4 calculators out of a potential 5. What an impressive debut novel! Now I need to check out the rest of the novels in the series!!

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