Published originally in 1994, BLOOD MOON is the first novel featuring former FBI forensic psychologist/profiler Robert Payne. The copy I have is a handsome edition from Ramble House.

He takes a case that his friend and almost partner, Mike Peary, was working on when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The woman hiring him says the teenager arrested was the wrong person.

Nora Connors had hired Peary to find the one who’d killed her daughter. one of a series of young girls who’s necks were broken and bodies severely mutilated. She’d received a letter from him a couple of days after his death describing his investigation so far and three suspects he’d developed.

That was all Payne had to go on as he begins to look into it. As the case moves along, more bodies turn up, including the woman who’d hired him and her assistant, and he gets involved in looking for a kidnapped eight year old girl that seems tied into it all. Payne gets involved with a woman police chief, who though she likes him(and vice versa), is exasperated because he won’t tell her what she needs for her own investigation.

Torn, he needs to protect the kidnapped child by keeping the police out of it until he can find her. The parents want help, but seem reticent to tell him what he needs to know. Which frustrates him.

Sprinkled throughout are chapters with this unknown killer, describing his life in prison and his planned escape with the help of one of those women who seem to love convicts.

Every time I think I had a handle on where the author is headed, he throws in a twist that sends one off in a new direction. It happens more than once which kept up the suspense until the final, bloody confrontation. I like stories like this. Not predictable.

I found the book very satisfying and now just have to find the other three in this series.