(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“I never was, am always to be; no one ever saw me, nor ever will; who am I?”
A serial killer is on the loose. The police are stumped and the public is frantic and impatient. He is referred to as “X-Man”,”X” standing for an unknown variable as this killer is unpredictable. No one understands his logic; it seems to be be built on chaos. His targets are random in age, gender and ethnicity. His MO even varies.The only constant is that he leaves cryptic notes, usually taping them to his victims.
These notes puzzle inspector Lucia Vieira, who is in charge of the case. X-Man uses jumbled words, riddles and brain twisters , like that in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. She and her partner, Mike, figure that their killer is male because he seems to overpower his victims. That’s about all they have to go on.
X-Man goes a step further though. He taunts Lucia by sending her cryptic text messages and emails. He even know where she lives. Could there be a leak at the police department?
Lucia and Mike solicit the help of a forensic psychologist and profiler. However Lucia feels that in order to find X-Man, she must start thinking like him. But how does she get into his mind without allowing herself to be controlled by him?
The killer utilizes game theory in the planning and execution of his murders, so Lucia uses numerous tools including drawing geometric charts to help figure out when his next murder will take place . This becomes a“ … a study of chaos giving way to some twisted illogical disorder masquerading as irrefutable reasoning.” Should she look for the exceptions to his murders instead of the rule? In any event, she is becoming obsessed.
Throughout the book the police and profiler ponder the suspect’s personality. Is their man a psychopath, sociopath or serial killer? How does he compare to, let’s say, a Ted Bundy?
This novel isn’t non-stop action. In fact, if you’re looking for a fast-paced who-dun-it, you will be disappointed. Looking Glass Killer will appeal to those who want to take a look into a criminal mind and learn how detectives may do the same.
Though I was surprised by the ending, I personally would have liked the story to have taken a completely different, darker turn.
However, for those of you who crave a unique, deliberate story, Looking Glass Killer may just be the book for you.