October 21, 2009


Abandoned by Cody McFadyen
2009 Bantam Books
Finished on 9/30/09
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)
This title will be released on October 27, 2009

Product Description

He doesn’t kill for thrills, for sex, or even for power.
It’s far more twisted than that….

Cody McFadyen, acclaimed author of The Darker Side, The Face of Death, and Shadow Man, delivers this shocking new thriller that brings to light a psychopath unlike any we’ve ever seen—a killer who thrives in absolute darkness and doesn’t derive pleasure from the kill. And only one woman has the ability to see him coming…even if it’s already too late to stop her own murder.

For FBI Special Agent Smoky Barrett, the wedding of one of their own was cause for celebration. Until a woman staggered down the aisle, incoherent, emaciated, head shaved, and wearing only a white nightgown.

No one knows who she is or where she’s come from—or why she’s chosen to appear in a church filled with law enforcement agents. Then a fingerprint check determines that the woman has been missing for nearly eight years—that once she was someone’s wife, someone’s mother…and a cop. Imprisoning her in a dark cell, depriving her of any contact with the outside world, her enigmatic captor was a man she didn’t know and who seldom spoke, who punished her only when she failed to follow his most basic instructions designed to keep her alive.

Cold, businesslike, seemingly indifferent to his victims, he’s a predator with an M.O. as terrifyingly inscrutable as any Smoky has ever encountered. As she fits together the pieces of what remains of his victim’s fractured life, a chilling picture emerges of a killer every bit as calculating, masterful, and professional as Smoky and the team she leads—a professional psychopath who doesn’t take murder personally and never makes a mistake.

There’s a reason he let one of his victims go free. And by the time Smoky pierces the darkness of his twisted mind, it may cost her more than she can bear to lose to escape. For a trap snapped closed the moment she took this case too much to heart.

I've read all of McFadyen's backlist (so nice to get in early on a fairly new series) and I have to say this is his best! Shadow Man was a favorite in 2006 and The Darker Side and The Face of Death both made my Top Ten for 2008. And Abandoned will most certainly make my 2009 list. I could not put this thriller down!

As I've said in previous reviews, I find it oddly disturbing to enjoy reading about a serial killer, and yet I can't stop reading these intensely compelling mysteries. Smokey Barrett is one tough character and I love to watch how she and her team slowly unravel the tightly woven threads that make up the case of yet another twisted mind. I was actually relieved that McFadyen toned down the grittiness of this fourth installment without forfeiting the realism and strong impact of the story. Certain scenes still had me cringing with fear and horror, but when he could have spelled out the details of specific acts, the author chose to leave those behind the scenes. All the worse for someone with a vivid imagination!

I was completely satisfied with the final outcome of the case and applaud Cody for another awesome book! I look forward to handselling Abandoned this holiday season. For those who love a gritty thriller, I can't think of a better series. What a nice bundle of books all four titles would make for a mystery/thriller reader on your Christmas list.

Click on the titles below to read my reviews for the others in this series (listed in order of publication):

Shadow Man
The Face of Death
The Darker Side


  1. Thanks for posting this. I adore serial killer mysteries, I can't believe I haven't read any of these!!! I'll start at the beginning and work my way through.

  2. Ahh, I came over to read what you wrote for Same Kind of Different As Me (cuz I finished this morning) and found this!!! I don't understand the "wait to post" request. Isn't that what ARCs are for - to get the word out early? I didn't want to step on toes, but maybe I'll go ahead too and blame my disobedience on you! :) BTW - my husband is in the middle of it now and is enjoying it, too.

  3. I have had Shadow Man on my TBR list based on your review for a couple of years now. I really need to move it up the read soon list now that I see you're still liking the series this much.

  4. Not really my type of book, but I am glad you have a positive review up! :)

  5. I know I've read this author before; can't recall the title right now, but i know I loved the book. I have to check out the series. Great review, glad u loved it.

  6. Pam - Cody's thrillers are my all-time favorites. He has such a way with words. Kind of odd to read a lyrical book about a serial killer. ;) You're in for a treat. Enjoy!

    Joy - I checked with Cody's agent and she gave the ok for today's post. I've had it ready to post since the 10th, but held off until today. It's due out next Tuesday, but she said to post it on the 21st. Guess that's the official sale date. I can't wait to read your review!! I'm pretty sure you won't be stepping on any toes at this point.

    My sister-in-law is reading it now and LOVES it! She and I are going to have such a good time handselling it at work (we work together at B&N). We have quite the tag-team routine for our favorite books. :)

  7. I e-mailed somebody (?) and she didn't respond. :( Glad to know we have the go ahead. I'll post mine today.

  8. This sounds great. Can someone pick it up at this one or would I want to read them in order?

  9. I'm going to make a totally off-the-wall comment. Every time I see this author's name I go a little nutty wondering how the last name is pronounced.

    Anyway . . . I'm glad you found a book that captured you. I'm back to being slumpy since I finished Uglies. Blah.

  10. SuziQ - Yes, you do! :) My sister-in-law's a big fan, too.

    Kailana - I understand. It's not everyone's cuppa tea. But, yes, I'm glad it was a winner, too! I seem to have hit a slump and am thinking I need to read more mysteries. At least for now.

    Diane - It really is a great series. I'm only sorry that now I have to wait another year or so before Cody writes #5!

    Joy - Off to read your review!! :)

    Lisa - It is! It is!! Personally, I'd start with the first in the series, but you really don't have to. There is some back story information in this book, but I don't think it's so huge that you'd be bummed if you went on to read the earlier books. I guess it depends on your tolerance for spoilers.

    Bookfool - I know. Me, too. I think it's "Mc-Fa-in" but I vaguely recall a post on his blog (or in an email) about this and he said it really doesn't matter to him. Kind of like my last name. Rod and I pronounce is "shear" but his mom always said "sure." Whatever, right? ;)

    I've pulled out of my slump, thanks to Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts. It's in my stack for tomorrow's read-a-thon. Whoohoo! :)


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