Gericke supplies a shotgun start, an Indy 500 wild ride and an explosive finish. The pages will speed forward so quickly that readers are going to be disappointed to read the final word. Both police procedural and suspenseful thriller, this novel is populated with intriguing, warm, witty characters and tangible settings, and it unerringly hits the perfect note of horrifying reality. If this is what he does with a debut, then Gericke's readers can look forward to more stellar roller-coaster tales.
Rookie cop Emily Thompson is sucked into the search for a sociopathic serial killer who's drawing from her own childhood to provide the police with clues -- and victims. Stalked and taunted at every turn, Emily and her life become an open book to her chief of police, her mentor partner and the tough detective who finds the gutsy cop impossible to resist. As she's stalked and a brilliant lunatic picks off cops, Emily relies on all her wits and training to stay alive. (May, 352 pp., $6.99)