Picked up CREATURES OF APPETITE by Todd Travis during a recent book promo. It was a little darker than what I’d been reading lately—all about a serial killer that preys on young kids. It’s a genre bender. While listed as a mystery-thriller, it could just as easily been categorized under horror. Think Dean Koontz.
For me, the beginning chapters were a love/hate relationship. I thought some of the writing was good and other parts repetitive and difficult to follow. Quick transitions and redundant dialogue made the opening a slow go, but I did like the characters and where the story was headed. I figured if something works, I’d give it a pass and kept reading.
About four or five chapters in, Mr. Travis hits his stride. I loved the protagonist Jacob Thorne. He’s a prickly s.o.b. with a personality better suited for a job in the DMV, but there he is, a profiler with the illustrious FBI. Well, was a profiler. In fact, he’s brought out of an enforced retirement to try to stop a serial killer dubbed The Iceman. Unfortunately for him, he’s saddled with Special Agent Emma Kane, a former cop who’s recovering from a traumatic event. Does Thorne relish a partner with shaky hands? Who would, but most of us would be more tactful in expressing dissatisfaction. Let me put it this way, Thorne does not hold back.
Given that this is Todd Travis’ first book, I kept thinking that I can’t wait to watch him develop. I was impressed by the writing and wished the very few mistakes were cleaned up. I mean, why not? This is stellar work and deserves stellar handling. The plot was intriguing, the characters richly embraced, and the twists? They had my head spinning. I especially loved the one at the end. No spoilers here! Suffice to say that Kane finally learns why Thorne plays chess in that unique way. She keeps hammering him with that question throughout and the answer had me laughing out loud.
If you can handle grisly crimes, a scumbag killer, a profiler who clearly never read Norman Vincent Peale’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, a rookie agent that better get her act together fast, and assorted police officials who would rather be right than catch a killer, then this one’s for you. I highly recommend CREATURES OF APPETITE and enjoyed the walk on the evil side. It’s creepy, full of memorable scenes and action, and entertaining to boot. Mr. Travis, I’m keeping my eye on you! Can’t wait to read what you come up with next!