Billed as a Lucy Kincaid novel, Stalked employs an ensemble cast to solve a decades-old mystery tied to a current murder investigation. Unfortunately, the mystery that began as intriguing ultimately ended up forgettable, as did the characters.
When reporter/author Rosemary Weber is found strangled in the parking lot of New York City’s Citi Field, FBI candidate Lucy Kincaid is reluctantly pulled into the investigation. Weber was working on another true crime novel and had asked for Lucy’s insight. Lucy declined the request preferring her anonymity. Once FBI agent and mentor Tony Presidio speaks with Lucy though, she finds herself drawn into the web of intrigue created by Weber’s death and her previous novels.
Weber’s first novel dealt with the disappearance, rape, and murder of 11-year-old Rachel McMahon from her own home fifteen years ago. One by one, officers and agents involved in the case begin to turn up deceased. Add to this the mystery of whatever became of Rachel’s younger brother Peter and the investigations become even more complex. As the body count increases, Lucy must try to put the pieces of the puzzle together to try to save the lives of her fellow agents, and possibly herself.
For me, this book fell far short of its goal of “romantic suspense.” The romance was practically nonexistent. Lucy and her fiance Sean spend most of the book apart as Lucy is currently at Quantico training to be an FBI agent. I might have been more enthused about the book had the mystery and writing been somehow more engaging, but, while the mystery held my interest, it did not make up for the lack of relationships between characters beyond their superficial interactions. Lucy and Sean could not grow as a couple due to this separation and the obligatory scene of sexytimes between the two was dull as a butter knife.
I also became annoyed by the way the characters all sounded the same. The dialogue was flat, almost clinical, and it made the characters seem interchangeable. Well, except for the instructor who has a major hate on for Lucy. He glares and growls and is all around creepy. I kind of hope he gets his own book.
I was definitely most intrigued by the older, cold case mystery of Rachel’s disappearance and felt for her brother who was at home the night she disappeared. The book did improve as her case became integral to the plot and the central mystery of whom may be killing those involved with the case. Because of this, I felt the momentum picked up in the second half of the story and made for a better reading experience.
My verdict: Read it if you would like complex mysteries that weave cold cases with current murder investigations. But skip this one if you are looking for relationship development between characters. You won’t find it here.