Holmes’ follow-up to her intriguing debut is another taut thriller, as her gusty heroine must face the fallout from her previous actions. Murder most creepy is once again plaguing Jefferson, Miss., as young women are disappearing. Politics also rears its ugly head as the subplot about the truth behind Alexandra’s family is slowly being revealed. Holmes does a great job building her alternate reality and the characters who inhabit it. Especially well done is the complicated relationship between Alexandra and Varik.
In the wake of a vampire murder case, FBPI (Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation) agent Alexandra Sabian has been suspended and is awaiting an investigation by the Tribunal. She is brought back to active duty by her lover, Varik Baudelaire, director of Special Operations, when a grisly new case implies the return of the infamous killer known as the Dollmaker. When the Tribunal investigator turns out to be Varik’s grudge-carrying ex, Alex may be on dangerous ground. As Alex and Varik work to track down a killer, they don’t realize that the Dollmaker has a deep-seated obsession with Alex. (BANTAM, Jul., 320 pp., $7.99)