The Cutting by James Hayman is the first book in the new “Det. Michael McCabe” thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, June 2009

From a formidable new voice in suspense fiction comes an edge-of-the-seat story of a homicide detective on the trail of a killer, who slays with exacting precision, and who harbors a terrifying motive

Detective Sergeant Michael McCabe moved from New York City to Portland, Maine, to escape a dark past: both the ex-wife who’d left him for an investment banker, and the tragic death of his brother, a hero cop gone bad. He sought to raise his young daughter away from the violence of the big city . . . so he’s unprepared for the horrific killer he discovers, whose bloody trail may lead to Portland’s social elite.

Early on a September evening, the mutilated body of a pretty teenaged girl, a high school soccer star, is found dumped in a scrap-metal yard. She had been viciously assaulted, but her heart had been cut out of her chest with surgical precision. The very same day a young businesswoman, also a blonde and an athlete, was abducted as she jogged through the streets of the city’s west end. McCabe suspects both crimes are the work of the same man—a killer who’s targeting the young, who is clearly well-versed in complex surgical procedures, and who may have struck before. Just as the investigation is beginning, McCabe’s ex-wife reemerges, suddenly determined to reclaim the daughter she heedlessly abandoned years earlier.

With the help of his straight-talking (and, at times, alluring) partner, Maggie Savage, McCabe begins a race against time to rescue the missing woman and unmask a sadistic killer—before more lives are lost.

When a young girl is found mutilated and with Mike on the case, he soon discovers that there were other like-murders all involving the removing of the heart. The closer he gets to the serial killer, the more bodies turn up dead. This was a roller-coaster ride that I didn’t want to get off until the end of the road. I can’t wait to read his next book in this series. My rating: 4.5 stars

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