Breakneck – Cyberthieves with False Identities

I don’t really read crime novels but this one caught my eye. One of my colleagues was giving away a bunch of novels and they were all mystery and crime genres so I picked this one up just thinking I’d try something different and then it turned into some suspenseful that I couldn’t put down.

It reminds me of the time we did a unit on suspense in novels and movies in my English class, now that was a fun unit so reading this book was like a trip down memory lane for me.

In the story, two detectives Mary Catherine “M.C.” Riggio and her partner Kitt Lundgren are on the trail of a faceless killer whose victims are all young adults, most of them with no criminal record. The killer also seems to never use the same tactic to kill his targets, just a clean instantaneous hit. M.C.’s personal life takes a toll on the investigation when her fiance is murdered as well.

I almost found that relieving, albeit devastating, because she comes from a large family and they were planning to give her an extravagant wedding much to her dismay. She has five brothers and her mom doesn’t seem to approve of her being a cop. Then her cousin is killed as well and soon the victims that follow lead to her and Kitt’s search for the killer, digging into not just questioning those who knew the victims but a dive into the cyberuniverse. The year this book takes place in reflects the start of the Internet era in my eyes when people still had flip-phones and bulky laptops. Speaking of which, the serial killer seems to swipe those after each kill he makes which leaves little clues for Kitt and M.C. to search for.

One character I really didn’t like in this book was Zoe, one of the girls who is later revealed to be part of a group of kids who commit cybercrime. She was whiny and irresponsible with drinking, partying, and smoking all the time. She seems to break down every time the police or even the FBI question her so what happened to her, I showed no surprise or disappointment.

The whole time I read this book I kept wondering who the killer might be. When M.C. learns that he goes by the name of Breakneck, it made me think that it was a killer that likes to break his victim’s necks, but not always, now I understand that he goes by that because he moves so quickly, in and out, little left behind for evidence. I was quite surprised to learn who the killer really was at the end, I thought it was that psychologist but as more pieces of the puzzle unfolded, I realized he was innocent.

It was also engrossing to read how this conflicted with Kitt and M.C.’s friendship and how far the latter was willing to go to uncover the suspect, even if it mean sacrificing that relationship, especially since some of the victims had been family to her. But Kitt also had problems too with the man she had divorced but now they were trying to give their life together another go.

Other than that, a good book, maybe I should read more of these.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


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