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Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

April 7, 2017

He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

 

Detective Erika Foster can never be accused of setting out to win friends and influence people. In her personal life, she shies away from making emotional commitments and in her policing career she is so bluntly spoken to her superior officers that the promotion ladder doesn’t exactly beckon.

 
And she does not suffer fools gladly, so when Andy Sparks is promoted to Superintendent above her, she doesn’t fail to let him know that she thinks he is not up to the job.

 
Erika is frustrated in her current role on the Projects, where she is drowning in statistical reports. So when D.I. Peterson is called out to a murder scene, Erika goes with him, on the fragile excuse that the weather is delaying D.I. Moss from getting there quickly, so she can help out in the meantime.

 
When she sees the bloody corpse of a young woman, she is determined that she will fight her way onto the case, whatever it takes.

 
After she is successfully assigned a temporary role in the case, a surprising turn of events leads her to take the lead on it. It soon becomes clear that this is not the first murder this man has committed and through thorough police work they establish that this is a killer who uses social media to track and profile his victims and dating sites to lure them in.

 
I loved the way that he detailed how this could be achieved and was somewhat appalled by how easy it is. I thought I knew the pitfalls of social media, but this was quite an eye opener.

 
In keeping with his ability to use social media to ensnare his victims, this killer is also acutely aware of how best to cover his tracks, so Erika and her team have real difficulty in pinning down his identity, even after they discover what colour of car he drives.

 
The reader, however, does know who the killer is and we are invited into his world and treated to his gruesome plans as he lines up more women for his perverted pleasure.
As Erika and her team battle to save his next victim from losing her life, we are made aware that things in Bromley nick are undergoing real change and not everyone is going to like the outcome.

 
I really enjoyed Last Breath. Bryndza has a way of making his characters authentic and likeable without smoothing their rough edges.

It’s good to see Erika Foster coming more to terms with her situation and needing the comfort and support of friends. I also like the way that her team have really gelled.

A first rate addition to the D.I. Foster cannon.

Last Breath is published by Bookouture on 12 April 2017

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