The Tease (Darling Killer Trilogy, #1) by Nikki M. Pill
Therapist by day, burlesque dancer by night, Anna works hard to keep the two halves of her life compartmentalized. That all falls apart when a patient confesses to a creepy fixation and the latest in a series of bizarre murders hits too close to home.
I really enjoyed this. Well-written, suspenseful, with well-drawn characters and a puzzle that kept me guessing. There are a lot of possible suspects, both obvious and not so obvious, and I found myself really getting nervous whenever Anna interacted with any of these guys in her life who could (maybe?) be the Darling Killer. Is it the guy who's obvious? The guy who's less obvious? The guy who's too obvious? The guy who couldn't possibly be a killer?
And I loved Anna's imperious half-Siamese cat, Caprice.
My only complaint is that the book is a little strident in proclaiming its message of female empowerment through taking your clothes off in front of strangers. Yes, celebrate your body and all that, I agree with the underlying sentiment, but not with that particular expression of it. But, whatever. The burlesque scene (as opposed to more sordid strip clubs) is an interesting setting for a murder mystery, especially in contrast to Anna's straight-laced day job.
Otherwise, I completely enjoyed this book; I stayed up way too late last night to finish it, and then I couldn't sleep because the ending was so creepy. Be warned: this is the first book in a trilogy, so the mystery is only partially solved, but the parting shot is a doozy.
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