Saturday, 13 August 2016

Once Taken (Riley Paige Mystery #2) - Black Pierce


ONCE TAKEN is book #2 in the bestselling Riley Paige mystery series, which begins with ONCE GONE (Book #1)--a free download with over 100 five star reviews!

Women are being murdered in upstate New York, their bodies found mysteriously hanging in chains. With the FBI called in, given the bizarre nature of the murders—and the lack of any clues—there is only one agent they can turn to: Special Agent Riley Paige.

Riley, reeling from her last case, is reluctant to take on a new one, since she is still convinced a former serial killer is out there, stalking her. She knows, though, that her ability to enter a serial killer’s mind and her obsessive nature is what will be needed to crack this case, and she just can’t refuse—even if it will push her over the edge.

Riley’s search takes her deep into a killer’s deluded mind as it leads her to orphanages, mental hospitals, prisons, all in an effort to understand the depth of his psychosis. Realizing she is up against a true psychopath, she knows time is short before he strikes again. But with her own job on the line and her own family a target, and with her fragile psyche collapsing, it may all be too much for her—and too late.

A dark psychological thriller with heart-pounding suspense, ONCE TAKEN is book #2 in a riveting new series—with a beloved new character—that will leave you turning pages late into the night.

Review:  MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS!! (you have been warned)

After reading Once Gone (Book #1) which is a free download, I was left wanting more from the best-selling series. Like the first, Once Taken (Book #2) was a page turner right from the beginning. I hadn't originally planned on buying the second in the series but when the first book ended on a huge cliffhanger, I just couldn't resist. 

Following on immediately after Once Gone, the prologue begins with a different character who we haven't actually met yet. His name is Jimmy Cole, and he is a tour guide on the Hudson River. They tell ghost stories until one of the passengers notices something off in the distance. Cole knows that they're drunk so he doesn't think anything of it, but when curiosity gets the better of him, he decides to investigate; only to come across a victim of the newest serial killer in this book. It also gives us an idea as to where the rest of the book is going to be set. 

Chapter one begins where Once Gone had left off; Special Agent Riley Paige finding pebbles inside her bed. We know from the first in the series that the pebbles played an important part in the book, affecting the mental state of both Riley and her friend Marie Sayles, who was also a survivor of the murderer (Peterson) who tortured both Riley and Marie. 

Firstly, Riley was spooked by a tapping on the door, only to go outside to find pebbles laid out in front of the door. It becomes suspicious when Marie had encountered the same thing, so fearing that their would-be-killer was still alive, it put them on a constant edge. When Riley finds the pebbles in her bed, she searches the whole house in case Peterson is in fact still alive. She believes that he is but everybody else thinks she was still paranoid. After phoning the FBI for a possible intrusion, they come to the conclusion that everything was safe but Riley insists that her daughter April stays with her father, Riley's ex-husband Ryan, so that she will be safe.

When the current situation is resolved, Riley takes her daughter on a trip to New York where they bond and you begin to see how special a mother/daughter relationship can actually be. After the previous dramas of Peterson, Riley is put back on involuntary leave but when her part Agent Lucy Vargas asks for her help, she cant help herself; showing us how determined Riley is in her job. It also shows how much April has begun to understand her mothers job because she doesn't mind when Riley takes the case again.
The beginning instantly grabs your attention, the action beginning as soon as the chapter starts which is one of the main factors in what kept me going throughout the rest of the book. 

It isn't as attention grabbing as the first but still extremely close. Once Riley goes back to work, most of the reactions are positive but others start to think she's losing her mind; obviously because she believes somebody is alive who everybody else is sure they killed. 
It makes you feel really sympathetic towards the main character, as the majority of the book is set from Riley's point of view, you really get an idea of what she has been through and also, what she thinks about the situation at hand. It's quite difficult to believe that she's paranoid which leaves you wanting the rest of the characters to believe her; for her own sake. 

Throughout the book, the point of view changes, sometimes being April; Riley's Daughter, other times being Peterson, Eugene (The newest Killer), Special Agent Bill Jeffreys (Her partner and also somebody she realises she's actually becoming attracted to.) but mainly the attention is on Riley. April is also given a lot of attention in this book because she is used as a way to get revenge on Riley. Fearing that her daughter is going to be killed, she begins to search for Peterson again, but this time she has the FBI on her side after convincing them that he is still alive. Bill refuses to let her look for Peterson on her own and knows that his marriage will be in even more jeopardy than it already is, but he knows that his best friend needs him. 

Throughout the search, the book remains even more attention grabbing, always switching from Riley, to April and then Riley again. It really starts to show how Riley is beginning to gain the love of her daughter again after being isolated from her for so many weeks. Also, like the first book, we are given flashbacks about how Riley was treated at the hands of Peterson, giving us an idea of what April may be going through but also showing how messed up Riley still is by the whole situation.

This book focuses on how Riley is trying to fix her personal life while battling with the ongoing cases that just never seem to end. It's a constant page turner, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm giving it a 4 out of 5.

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