In an indeterminate future, civilization was nearly destroyed when the number of homicides reached epidemic proportions. Dr. Jaguar Addams works on an extraplanetary penal colony, attempting to rehabilitate the most vicious, violent killers by digging into their deepest fears.

As an empath, she can touch their minds and try to reorder their souls. Now she's assigned a case unlike anything she's ever seen: three killers known as the Death Sisters, who don't fit any of the patterns she has come to know. In the process of this investigation, she will stumble onto a plot that threatens her own life and those she holds dear.

Jaguar is a compelling figure. Uncompromising, with a strict moral code and a haunted past, she refuses to be any less than what she is. Readers will no doubt be reminded of J.D. Robb's Eve Dallas, but Jaguar stands on her own, and the world Chepaitis has created is darker, more violent, and also more fully realized. World-building is impeccable, even minor characters are three dimensional and intriguing.

As this is the fourth book in a series, the author does a decent job of establishing the setting with a lot of backstory. With such a fast-moving, layered plot, there is the occasional loose end; even so, this is one of those gripping, addictive all-nighters, nearly impossible to put down. The previous three books are being republished from Wildside Press and are well worth watching for. Begin with The Fear Principle, also out in June, and find out more about Chepaitis' fascinating world. (Jun., 304 pp., $17.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum