Title: Snakes And Ladders
(Ziba MacKenzie #3)
Author: Victoria Selman
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: November 21st 2019
Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK
Finished reading: December 13th 2019
“Caring makes you human. It’s the one thing that differentiates us from the monsters we hunt.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
As soon as I read the first line of the blurb on Netgalley I was sold. I mean: Psycho meets The Silence Of The Lambs… How on earth would I be able to resist that?! Add the promise of a serial killer and profiler angle, and I just HAD to add it to my shelves. I confess I wasn’t aware that Snakes And Ladders was actually the third book of a series when I requested a copy, but thankfully it turns out that this story works really well as a stand-alone as well. A fair warning though: it is most likely that you will end up adding the first two books to your wishlist anyway afterwards, as you will be left wanting for more!
So, Snakes And Ladders. Of course, thanks to my mistake, I didn’t have the background of the main characters and past cases when I started reading, but despite this lack of knowledge I was able to dive straight in anyway. I’m not lying when I say that I was hooked after only a couple of pages! This is one of those thrillers that will draw you right in and won’t let you go until the very end. Snakes And Ladders has it all: intriguing main characters, not one but TWO disturbing serial killers, a fascinating case, a profiler angle, lots of suspense and plot twists, solid writing and plot development… Oh yes, there is a lot to love in this third book and it was definitely a huge success for me.
Ziba MacKenzie is without doubt a very strong lead and one of the reasons this story worked so well for me. Even though I missed some of her background information, I was still able to warm up to her almost instantly and I’m definitely a fan. I love how she is a profiler and gives us a slightly different angle on the typical murder investigation in detective thrillers. The profiling and psychological aspect in Snakes And Ladders is without doubt fascinating and definitely gives this story its unique touch! Likewise, I loved the fact that we had not one, but TWO serial killer characters involved. Vernon Sange is of course behind bars, but not less dangerous and he makes a fantastic villain. The Pink Rose Killer on the other hand is of course the main focus of this story, identity unknown and his case active. The flashback chapters give us some insight in his past and how he became the person he is today… But is he in contact with Vernon Sange? Why does he kill? And who is he? You will find yourself going round and round as cleverly designed plot twists keep misleading you.
Vernon Sange’s angle gave the plot more dept and added a whole different layer of danger both for Ziba and those close to her. It also gave us not one, but TWO riddles to unravel: who is the PRK and what is Vernon up to? Both riddles made me keep turning those pages and I managed to finish Snakes And Ladders in record time. And that ending! My eyes couldn’t believe what they had just read; while I saw some twists and reveals coming, that cliffhanger ending definitely was a true shocker. I’ll be waiting impatiently for book four to discover what will happen next, but not before I catch up with the first two books of course! Fans of darker, complex and twisted serial killer thrillers who love a profiler and psychological angle will have a great time with Snakes And Ladders.