Emma Lewis is a rare survivor of a serial killer. She was actually held hostage by him for days prior to her escape.
Travis Bell is a U.S. Marshall candidate, whose father lost his life in the line of duty at the hands of a serial killer.
In addition to these odd circumstances, they are also both extremely intelligent. It’s because of all of this, the FBI decides to recruit Emma and Bell to interview juvenile killers and provide insight on cold cases.
The theory is that teen killers will be more willing to open up to other teens, as opposed to stiff old, fuddy-duddy FBI agents.
Both Bell and Emma agree to the assignment within the Behavioral Sciences Unit and move into the dorms at Quantico. They begin training with other recruits and start their teen killer interviews.
The first interview ends up going better than expected. The killer does seem to be more receptive to them and opens up about his crimes and motivations.
Concurrently, the BSU is working on an active, high-profile serial killer case where all of the victims are teenagers.
Trying to get to the bottom of this case, and catch the killer before another teen is killed, the BSU decides to turn to infamous teen killer, Simon Gutmunsson, for help.
Emma ends up interviewing Simon alone and this is where the strong The Silence of the Lambs vibes begin.
Emma and Simon’s relationship is very Clarice and Hannibal. The more they talk, the more Simon is able to draw out of Emma. Details she should not be confessing to him under any circumstances.
Simon is a masterful manipulator, who could strike with zero provocation.
Simon is revealing a lot to Emma as well and it begins to seem that he has a connection to the current case, but how?
This story was super intriguing from the very first chapter. Emma and Bell were both great characters to get to know.
Because of their history of trauma, they were both working through the effects of that; deciding how they wanted their lives to go. Channeling their pain into potential good for others, instead of letting it hold them back.
They hit it off right away and bonded quickly. I thought that made sense. They were the only people in that position, going through the same things. They had no one else.
Watching their relationship evolve over the course of the book seemed so natural. I am attached to them now and genuinely hope this is not the last we see of their characters.
I also loved all the scenes with Simon. He was chilling, much like Hannibal Lecter before him. The audiobook had incredibly creepy narration for his portions, so highly recommend that.
The cat-and-mouse interactions between Simon and Emma were so well-written. Additionally, Simon has a family member who plays a role in this story and their relationship was equally disturbing.
Overall, I thought this was an exceptionally tense and well-plotted YA Thriller.
Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys shows like Criminal Minds, or Mindhunter, as well as The Silence of the Lambs!!