The Deepest Cut by Dianne Emley is the third book in the “Nan Vining” thriller series. Publisher: Ballantine Books, February 2009

Back from the dead. That’s how it feels for Nan Vining–a Pasadena homicide cop, a struggling single mother, and a woman determined to find the brutal madman who left her for dead a year ago. Now, in Dianne Emley’s brilliant new thriller, Nan Vining must face the truth: her attacker is still out there and he’s killed at least three other women.

She has given a name to her unknown assailant: T. B. Mann–The Bad Man. On the job, Nan breaks rules and steals evidence, building a case file based on the dead certainty that T. B. Mann is obsessed with women who wear uniforms or carry guns, that he hunts them and kills them, then adorns them with a pearl necklace.

At the crime scene of her official assignment, the murder of an ex-con in a clown suit, Nan spots a graffiti tag and is sure, against all reason, that T. B. Mann was there, too. But she is fearful to share her suspicions.

Further complicating matters is Nan’s developing relationship with Detective Jim Kissick. In the grip of her secret obsession, she knows that opening her heart means losing control.

Within this sprawling panorama T. B. Mann reemerges, bringing Nan to the sudden, horrifying realization that her killer has baited the perfect trap.

Smart and gut-wrenching, deeply felt and passionate, The Deepest Cut startles and astounds from the first page to the last.

On assignment of an ex-con found dead, Van sees a graffiti tag and her immediate reaction is that it was made by the man who left her for dead 15 months ago. Jim Kissick, Van’s partner and lover is put on the unsolved case when the blood-covered shirt Nan was wearing is found in her house by her daughter. Nan confesses to Jim about all the clues and evidence that she has appropriated. When it looks like the case is going nowhere, Nan once again continues to pursue the clues that will bring her face to face with her predator. This was an excellent conclusion to the T.B. Mann thrillogy. What a rollercoaster ride from the first page to the last sentence. There were so many emotions wrapped in the story from Nan, Jim, Emily and the supporting characters who were influenced by what happened with Nan. That twist towards the conclusion rocked me, I never saw that one coming. I look forward to the next “Nan Vining” story. [5 stars – it was amazing]

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