ann mcginnis

Review of ‘Scarlet Envy’

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After FBI probationary analyst Caycee Scarlet helped catch the serial killer Omega, but let the Baseball Bomber, Carl Hicks, get away, she was ordered to take psychiatric counseling. Ever the nonconformist, Scarlet gives her shrink fits, frustrates her boss, and lover, Gil Graham, and makes the FBI think seriously about whether or not she’s a good fit for the bureau. But then, Hicks reenters her life. He sends her a ‘love’ letter warning her that she’s in danger, which sets off a frantic search for Hicks’ estranged wife Siobhan, who Caycee learns has been stalking her for a long time. The FBI wants Hicks, but they find that their main target is Siobhan, who is obsessed with her search for a ‘Killer Gene,’ and the Zodiac killer – and Scarlet finds herself at the center of both searches.

Scarlet Envy by Ann McGinnis is a riveting continuation of Caycee Scarlet’s search for answers to many things from her past – key among them, the answer to her grandmother’s murder, she believes at the hand of Zodiac. The tension starts on a high note and soars to stratospheric heights as Scarlet, Graham and Hicks follow Siobhan’s trail from Washington, DC to San Francisco, with enough red herrings and narrow escapes to satisfy even the most jaded reader. The reader is shown the story from Scarlet’s point of view, which increases the uncertainty because we can only know what she knows and thinks, but McGinnis handles it masterfully.

I only have one very, very small carp with the book. Early on, when Hicks helps Scarlet evade an FBI agent guarding her in a fleabag hotel and Siobhan who appears to have arrived to kill her, the terms ‘repel’ and ‘repelling’ were used several times, when the author clearly meant ‘rappel’ and ‘rappelling.’ As a mystery writer, though, I can only wish that my own stories only had such small faults. This is a book that I can promise you – once you start reading, you will not be able to put it down until you reach the surprising conclusion.

I received a free copy of Scarlet Envy in exchange for my review, and I have only one thing further to say about it—don’t let it be the last. Caycee Scarlet’s adventures are not to be missed. This was even better than Scarlet Revenge, and gets five stars from me.

Review of ‘Scarlet Revenge’

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Caycee Scarlet is a new FBI Intelligence Analyst, assigned to a task force trying to capture the Omega Killer. Very quickly, Scarlet finds herself caught up in the murky bureaucracy of the bureau and its dog-eat-dog politics. Her life is further complicated by her physical and emotional attachment to FBI agent Gil Graham, who becomes her boss when she is bounced off the Omega task force by its leader who is jealous of her analytical ability.

Scarlet Revenge by Ann McGinnis is a fast-paced mystery that will keep you guessing until near the end. I received a free copy in exchange for an objective review. The love affair between FBI personnel is perhaps a bit far-fetched, and the secret FBI interrogation facility is definitely off the chart (getting a confession that would stand up in court in a facility run like this – a la Guantanamo – would be impossible. McGinnis also has Scarlet doing things that an analyst would never be involved in. These procedural twists, however, are the only negative things I have to say about Scarlet Revenge. Fiction, after all, is about suspending disbelief, and McGinnis’s tight prose and sense of adventure enabled me to pretend that this could have happened.

If you like fast-paced mysteries with something other than the usual protagonists, McGinnis delivers the goods.