Book Review: Abandoned (Smoky Barrett #4) by Cody McFadyen

6413939Title: Abandoned (Smoky Barrett #4)
Author: Cody McFadyen
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: October 27th 2009
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

For FBI Special Agent Smoky Barrett, her colleague’s wedding is cause for celebration. Until a woman staggers down the aisle—incoherent, wearing only a white nightgown. A fingerprint check determines that she’s been missing for nearly eight years. Her coldly efficient captor toyed with her mind and body, imprisoning her, depriving her of any contact with the outside world. As Smoky fits together the pieces of what remains of the victim’s fractured life, a chilling picture emerges of a cerebral psychopath who doesn’t take murder personally, never makes a mistake, follows his own sinister logic, and has set the perfect trap.

I purchased Abandoned at a booksale last year for the very low price of $1. The best dollar ever spent, if you ask me. Sure, I wouldn’t rate this book a five star, but it was a decent, satisfactory read that kept me chilled the entire time. I had to keep on turning pages to find out what would happen next to the main characters, and if that happens, it’s always a great sign.

Abandoned is the fourth book in a series focusing on detective Smoky Barrett, but it’s not necesarry to read the previous parts to understand what’s going on here. At a colleague’s wedding, a strange woman staggers down the isle, wearing nothing but a white nightgown. It looks like the woman hasn’t been outside in ages. Who is she? Why is she here? It’s up to the detectives to find out. A fingerprint check results in them discovering the woman has been missing for eight years. Where has she been all this time? People don’t just vanish off the face of the earth…or do they?

When they begin to investigate more, in particular into the background of the missing woman’s husband, an array of secrets come to the surface, one darker than the other. Smoky and her team know that serial killers work in a particular way. They feel sexually aroused when they murder someone, they’re in it for the money, or they feel some other thrill. Not this one though. They’re not even sure if he’s a killer, considering the only victim they’ve found so far is still alive, albeit barely. To find out the reasons behind the abductions, the team will have to put aside all normal human logic and dive deep into the mind of a murderer, to the darkest pillars of their imagination…

What I found most intriguing about Abandoned is its premise. The murderer. Why the murderer does what he does, and that he has no obvious drives. As the novel progresses, he kills some victims by making a hole in their skull, lobotomizing them, like they used to do to patients in mental health hospitals two centuries ago. It both shows how distanced the murderer is from his actions, and how insane he truly is.

At some point, the stakes are even higher when the detective gets kidnapped herself. Now, that’s when things got really interesting for me. We see how the killer acts and what he does to the victims he keeps locked up for eight years, sometimes even a decade. We travel into the darkest corners of the human soul, and the journey itself is more than intriguing. Gruesome and cruel yes, but also fascinating, in a morbid kind of way.

I liked the characters, although this is a very plot-driven book, they’re all developed well. I had some trouble keeping track of who is who and what their role was in the team, but I blame that mostly on me not starting with book one, as usually.

I highly recommend this book to all fans of thriller novels. Abandoned offers an elusive killer, endaring detectives and some of the darkest and most delusional minds you’ll ever see. A great book, and ideal to read on a chilly and rainy afternoon.


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