2012 Book 249: FEAR COLLECTOR Review

Fear Collector by Gregg Olsen
ISBN: 9780786020461 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780786030545 (ebook)
ASIN: B009WWWS5M (Kindle ebook)
Publication date: December 24, 2012
Publisher: Pinnacle 

Ted Bundy. America’s most notorious serial killer. For two women, he is the ultimate obsession. One is a cop whose sister may have been one of Bundy’s victims. The other is a deranged groupie who corresponded with Bundy in prison–and raised her son to finish what Bundy started. To charm and seduce innocent girls. To kidnap and brutalize more women than any serial killer in history. And to lure one obsessed cop into a trap as sick and demented as Bundy himself. . .

Grace Alexander is a Tacoma, Washington police detective. She’s married to an FBI agent. She also grew up in the shadow of an older sister she never knew. An older sister her parents are sure was a victim of Ted Bundy. Most children grow up hearing stories about family members and gazing at family pictures. Grace grew up hearing stories about a notorious serial killer and being quizzed on his life. Grace wasn’t abused or unloved, but she knew that her parents’ primary focus was on her missing sister Tricia. Now that Grace is a police officer, she knows that she must always try to bring some closure to her mother and find out what exactly happened to Tricia.

Ted Bundy is dead but his legacy lives on in more ways than can be believed. Grace and her partner, Paul Bateman, are currently investigating the disappearance of several young girls from the Tacoma area. When the body of one missing girl is found on a beach, presumed to be a drowning, remains of another girl are also uncovered. These remains are older but not ancient and just may be the remains of a presumed Bundy victim.

Fear Collector is a story that provides multiple stories that are deftly woven into one master picture of horror. One story is of Grace and her mother and their search for definitive information on Tricia’s disappearance. Another facet of this story is Grace and her job, specifically the investigation into the missing girls — all remarkably similar in looks. Then there’s the story of Emma Rose, one of the missing girls, as she struggles to survive in captivity. Seemingly minor stories include those of a real estate developer and his son, an aging professor that knew Tricia, a retired police detective and expert on Bundy, and an obviously delusional woman and her ties to Bundy and Tricia. Just when you think you know where the story is going, there’s a twist that pulls you off into what appears to be another direction. Mr. Olsen kept me on the edge of my seat, constantly wondering is this bit of information important in solving the serial killer mystery or is it simply another piece to the puzzle, if so which puzzle. Fear Collector is a story that literally grabbed me from the first few pages until the very end . . . and what an end! If you enjoy mystery-suspense-thriller reads, then this is one book you want to read. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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After numerous interruptions and several days of reading in 5-10 minute fits and spurts, I finally was able to read and finish Closer than Blood by Gregg Olsen. This is another fantastic mystery-thriller that leaves the reader trying to guess whodunit (or in this case who helped) until the final pages.

The reader is re-united with Detective Kendall Stark and her partner. They aren’t working a current case at the beginning of this story but are simply involved in the periphery. Why? Kendall feels that an evil and devious high school classmate, Tori, is more involved than just being the innocent bystander in her husband’s death. Tori’s twin sister, Lainie is the proverbial good sister and she also feels that there is more to this story than meets the eye. Is this another instance of Tori getting away with murder…literally and figuratively speaking?

I enjoyed the intrigue and mayhem that is unveiled throughout this story. There are times when Kendall’s investigation into the past and present seems to go off half-cocked but, trust me, it makes sense in the end. The theme that ties all of the little stories together seems to be what secrets are we all hiding and what lengths are we willing to go in order to protect those secrets. The characters might seem trite at first, good twin vs. evil twin, but Lainie, as the good twin, is not the perfect child or adult. She has her fair share of faults and weaknesses. However, Tori goes a long way in epitomizing the evil twin. She is so much more than a femme fatale, although she fits that role quite well. As the story unfolds, Tori becomes not only hated but reviled by the reader as well as the characters in the story. This feeling of camraderie with the characters is one of the things that makes Mr. Olsen’s writings so unique, in my opinion. I’ve read all of his fiction works and enjoyed them all and Closer Than Blood was no exception. A well-written and well executed mystery that brings thrills and chills.