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The Cipher

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To a cunning serial killer, she was the one that got away. Until now… FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera escaped a serial killer’s trap at sixteen. Years later, when she’s jumped in a Virginia park, a video of the attack goes viral. Legions of new fans are not the only ones impressed with her fighting skills. The man who abducted her eleven years ago is watching. Determined to To a cunning serial killer, she was the one that got away. Until now… FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera escaped a serial killer’s trap at sixteen. Years later, when she’s jumped in a Virginia park, a video of the attack goes viral. Legions of new fans are not the only ones impressed with her fighting skills. The man who abducted her eleven years ago is watching. Determined to reclaim his lost prize, he commits a grisly murder designed to pull her into the investigation…but his games are just beginning. And he’s using the internet to invite the public to play along. His coded riddles may have made him a depraved social media superstar—an enigmatic cyber-ghost dubbed “the Cipher”—but to Nina he’s a monster who preys on the vulnerable. Partnered with the FBI’s preeminent mind hunter, Dr. Jeffrey Wade, who is haunted by his own past, Nina tracks the predator across the country. Clue by clue, victim by victim, Nina races to stop a deadly killer while the world watches.


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To a cunning serial killer, she was the one that got away. Until now… FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera escaped a serial killer’s trap at sixteen. Years later, when she’s jumped in a Virginia park, a video of the attack goes viral. Legions of new fans are not the only ones impressed with her fighting skills. The man who abducted her eleven years ago is watching. Determined to To a cunning serial killer, she was the one that got away. Until now… FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera escaped a serial killer’s trap at sixteen. Years later, when she’s jumped in a Virginia park, a video of the attack goes viral. Legions of new fans are not the only ones impressed with her fighting skills. The man who abducted her eleven years ago is watching. Determined to reclaim his lost prize, he commits a grisly murder designed to pull her into the investigation…but his games are just beginning. And he’s using the internet to invite the public to play along. His coded riddles may have made him a depraved social media superstar—an enigmatic cyber-ghost dubbed “the Cipher”—but to Nina he’s a monster who preys on the vulnerable. Partnered with the FBI’s preeminent mind hunter, Dr. Jeffrey Wade, who is haunted by his own past, Nina tracks the predator across the country. Clue by clue, victim by victim, Nina races to stop a deadly killer while the world watches.

30 review for The Cipher

  1. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    The Silence of the Lambs and The Lost Symbol got together and had a little book baby named The Cipher. Let's unwrap this bundle of joy. A young female FBI agent works with an older male colleague from the Behavior Analysis Unit to track a serial killer by solving the clues he leaves behind while zigzagging all over the country. Fortunately for us, baby Cipher differs from its Book Mama and Book Papa because its main protagonist was once an escaped victim of the killer, and there’s also way less The Silence of the Lambs and The Lost Symbol got together and had a little book baby named The Cipher. Let's unwrap this bundle of joy. A young female FBI agent works with an older male colleague from the Behavior Analysis Unit to track a serial killer by solving the clues he leaves behind while zigzagging all over the country. Fortunately for us, baby Cipher differs from its Book Mama and Book Papa because its main protagonist was once an escaped victim of the killer, and there’s also way less tweed. But I kid, I kid. The Cipher is actually a refreshing update on the hunted serial killer trope given its #ownvoices lineage. Both our heroine, Nina Guerrara, and the author are Latina. Isabella Maldonado’s bio is quite impressive: "A graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico and the first Latina to attain the rank of captain in her police department, she retired as the Commander of Special Investigations and Forensics." Yeah, I think I’m interested in her take on the genre! I was thoroughly engaged in the cat and mouse game she crafted, and consider me signed up for the forthcoming sequel. The Cipher is currently available on Kindle Unlimited (and includes WhisperSync for those who may prefer listening on audio). As of 1/21/21. (Side eye side note: It appears the movie rights have already been snatched up by the 51-year-old JLo for Netflix. Ms. Lopez will be playing the 27-year-old Nina. Insert line mouth emoji here.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    If you're a fan of Police Procedurals and FBI Behavioral Analysis you will want to read this one! There are just so many things in the mix here that I'm a fan of! "The Cipher" is Book One of a new series by Isabella Maldonado and I will definitely be reading the next one when it comes out! I'm not sure if I can even sum the plot up easily.. to Maldonado's credit, she seamlessly weaves in a lot of elements without making you feel like you're just missing the kitchen sink. The story focuses on FBI If you're a fan of Police Procedurals and FBI Behavioral Analysis you will want to read this one! There are just so many things in the mix here that I'm a fan of! "The Cipher" is Book One of a new series by Isabella Maldonado and I will definitely be reading the next one when it comes out! I'm not sure if I can even sum the plot up easily.. to Maldonado's credit, she seamlessly weaves in a lot of elements without making you feel like you're just missing the kitchen sink. The story focuses on FBI agent Nina Guerrera, she is a special case as she had a more than challenging childhood and then at age 16, was kidnapped, held captive and raped before escaping. Eleven years later, after a video of her fighting off attackers goes viral, her kidnapper resurfaces, determined to get her in his clutches once again. She joins a BAU task force and they always seem one step behind the kidnapper (who is now a killer) as he leaves victims and clues across the country. Also, she is kick-ass! Ok, so, at points is it a bit far fetched? sure, yes, maybe.. but who cares!! I don't need too much reality in life. There is one far fetched bit of plot that doesn't fit in as tightly but only because I think she overdoes describing it a bit but it does fit with the storyline. Were there some graphic scenes? yes but not too much, and it fell in with the theme of the book considering the fact that he is a sociopathic rapist. Is Nina sometimes a bit too kick ass for belief, ok maybe yes.. but honestly, I loved her. Like sorry, a female main character that is too strong of a fighter and isn't tripping over her feet, I'll take it! Woohoo! She is also super proud of her Latina heritage, which is not only some solid representation in a lead character as an FBI agent but also the food descriptions made my mouth water. Anyway, I'm trying to think of some negatives and am turning them all around. There are times when it's a bit procedural with team meetings discussing details of the case but it's literally that kind of book so... and if it has moments of slow in the middle, I sped through the last 1/4, couldn't put it down! I loved that Maldonado incorporated today's world into this book, twitter, Facebook, livestreams, and she showed what would happen if a serial killer used those in the same way that killers mailed codes and letters to the newspapers in the 1960/70s, especially without editors to keep things from the populous nowadays. Everything was updated in this book, including the strong female lead, bravo! I loved her team, her neighbors, the supporting characters in this book were great, all fleshed out and believable. The Cipher, as the killer becomes known, is also believable. He gets a chance to have a POV every once in a while and those chapters are chilling and give an eye to his character, which is fully developed and layered. Scary stuff right there... There are also a lot of references throughout to myths, movies and other cultural references, some blatant and some alluded to and I loved those added details! At one point the characters describe the random citizens who are trying to solve the case as "Scoobies" which I thought was a great nod to a classic team of meddling kids but by the end of the book, I was thinking that this FBI BAU team was as likeable and quirky as the classic ones that rode in the Mystery Machine🐕 Anyway, enough chat about the book, if you need a good psychological police novel reminiscent of Patterson's Cross but tweaked for 2020, I ++ recommend you see if you can figure out the cipher!🧩 *Thank-you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for providing me with this early reader copy in exchange for an honest review*

  3. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    I really enjoyed the escapism of this story—I was able to forget about the insanity of the election and just read about the good guys catching the bad guy. FBI Agent Nina Guerrera fights off an attack during her jog through the words. Someone had a cell phone handy and posted the video for all to see, including the man who attacked her when she was just sixteen years. The story is fast-paced.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Monnie

    This book, the first in a series, was an Amazon First Reads choice that looked intriguing. And you know what? It is. Not only did I enjoy it thoroughly, but I'm now looking forward to the next one. To be sure, it's on the grisly side; FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera was the victim of almost unspeakable acts done by a serial killer/rapist back when she was 16. She turned out to be the one who got away - but not without a ton of physical and emotional scars. As this book begins, she's jogging on a This book, the first in a series, was an Amazon First Reads choice that looked intriguing. And you know what? It is. Not only did I enjoy it thoroughly, but I'm now looking forward to the next one. To be sure, it's on the grisly side; FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera was the victim of almost unspeakable acts done by a serial killer/rapist back when she was 16. She turned out to be the one who got away - but not without a ton of physical and emotional scars. As this book begins, she's jogging on a Virginia trail during off hours and is attacked. She overpowers her attacker, but as tends to happen in these days of instant "news," the whole thing was captured on video and uploaded to the Internet. And therein lies a problem: Her attacker of many years ago was watching - and now he knows where she is. Worse, he's decided to play some games before he finally recaptures Nina; he'll kidnap others who resemble her, torture and kill them and leave mysterious clues for her to follow in hopes of preventing an attack on yet another victim. Because the clues often contain numbers and symbols, he's dubbed the "Cipher." But now, Nina has the full power of the FBI behind her - including Dr. Jeffrey Wade, the Behavioral Analysis Unit guy who nearly got her booted out because he thought her judgment couldn't be trusted. He, too, has emotional scars from the nasty ending of another case for which he blames himself, but they've got no choice but to work together. A couple of other capable members join their team - one a cybersecurity expert - so the race is on to identify the guy before he strikes again (or worse, manages to recapture Nina herself). I can't reveal more without spoiling things for other readers, but I can say The rest is packed with action as well as psychological analyses for which the BAU is well known. What happens isn't always pleasant, but it sure is exciting. Well done!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Debbie DiFiore

    The Warrior Girl This was very good. I loved the resilience of the heroine and her courage to take control of her life after years of abuse. The evil Odin truly personified evil. Her will to survive was so strong. She was a perfect heroine. I loved her neighbor Mrs Gomez and I swear I could almost smell the food she kept bringing to the heroine. I totally want carne asada now and empanadas! And Bianca, the genius teenager and I am sure she will be featured in future stories and I do hope there a The Warrior Girl This was very good. I loved the resilience of the heroine and her courage to take control of her life after years of abuse. The evil Odin truly personified evil. Her will to survive was so strong. She was a perfect heroine. I loved her neighbor Mrs Gomez and I swear I could almost smell the food she kept bringing to the heroine. I totally want carne asada now and empanadas! And Bianca, the genius teenager and I am sure she will be featured in future stories and I do hope there are more. The team with Wade, Kent, Baxter(?) And Nina were so interesting. I want to have more adventures with them and I can't wait. The ending was perfection. That scene on The "Yellow Brick Road" was so amazing. I could picture each one of them as a character from the Wizard of Oz helping Nina ease on down the road. Excellent read. Loved it. Now I just have to find me some Carne Asada.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rich

    This was my first book from this author. It was a decent read. It reminded alot of a FBI show that just ended criminal minds-was never a big fan of that show lol. The main character was ok-dialogue was ok and the secondary characters were ok . I thought at times it dragged a little bit-and I do not like knowing what the bad guy is doing or thinking, I have said that before. I was not wild about the ending, I saw it coming a mile away. I think it could have been a better book , not sure why just This was my first book from this author. It was a decent read. It reminded alot of a FBI show that just ended criminal minds-was never a big fan of that show lol. The main character was ok-dialogue was ok and the secondary characters were ok . I thought at times it dragged a little bit-and I do not like knowing what the bad guy is doing or thinking, I have said that before. I was not wild about the ending, I saw it coming a mile away. I think it could have been a better book , not sure why just a gut feeling. I give it 3.4 stars. I do not think I will continue with the series when the next book comes out, just not in love wth the main character, she is too perfect in someway ehh. I would say you could do worse and if you like crinminal minds then give this book a spin

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dharma Kelleher

    THE CIPHER Puts A Modern Twist On The Serial Killer Trope Following the success of her Veranda Cruz series, author Isabella Maldonado introduces us to her latest heroine, FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera, in her upcoming mystery thriller, The Cipher. As a teenager, Nina managed to escape from a serial killer who was never captured. Years later, Nina has built a career with the FBI. But when a failed assault involving Nina is caught on video and goes viral on the internet, the serial killer takes no THE CIPHER Puts A Modern Twist On The Serial Killer Trope Following the success of her Veranda Cruz series, author Isabella Maldonado introduces us to her latest heroine, FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera, in her upcoming mystery thriller, The Cipher. As a teenager, Nina managed to escape from a serial killer who was never captured. Years later, Nina has built a career with the FBI. But when a failed assault involving Nina is caught on video and goes viral on the internet, the serial killer takes notice and decides its time to finish what he started. The killer, known as the Cipher for his coded taunting messages left at crime scenes along with the bodies of young women, suddenly discovers that social media is a great way to fulfill his pathological need for attention. Each gruesome murder, every social media post goes viral, leaving the Nina and her FBI team not only racing against time to stop the killer but also against amateur sleuth-wannabes who want to be the first to solve the crimes and win a prize. I generally don’t read a lot of serial killer books because the trope has been so done to death and the stories too often devolve into “torture porn.” But I am a big fan of Maldonado’s Veranda Cruz series and knew she had the chops to create a story that is as fresh as it is exciting. That said, what really sets Maldonado’s The Cipher apart from so many other serial killer novels is how she explores our pathological craving for information and interaction, the way social media has changed the way we as people interact with the world, and the ways influential people can put their thumbs on the scales in ways most people cannot. And with Maldonado’s personal experience in law enforcement, you get a story that accurately reflects the reality of the culture behind the badge. If you’re looking for an exciting, edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller, you won’t want to miss The Cipher published by Thomas & Mercer. The book comes out on November 1, 2020. I received a free advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    I grabbed this one on a whim needed and good mystery for this time of year and I am so glad I took a chance on this. It was everything I needed in a good heart pounding read that kept me on my toes and coming back for more. I can't wait to read more in this series! I grabbed this one on a whim needed and good mystery for this time of year and I am so glad I took a chance on this. It was everything I needed in a good heart pounding read that kept me on my toes and coming back for more. I can't wait to read more in this series!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    In this new series, author Maldonado brings a sense of authenticity that one rarely finds in police procedural thrillers. I am sure this is because she is the real deal. Her experience as a police officer should and does bring a real sense that she knows of what she speaks. But that has little to do with literary talent and this is where she shines. The book is real page-turner. It is filled with many memorable characters but it is the heroine, Nina Guerrera, who comes alive in a memorable way. In this new series, author Maldonado brings a sense of authenticity that one rarely finds in police procedural thrillers. I am sure this is because she is the real deal. Her experience as a police officer should and does bring a real sense that she knows of what she speaks. But that has little to do with literary talent and this is where she shines. The book is real page-turner. It is filled with many memorable characters but it is the heroine, Nina Guerrera, who comes alive in a memorable way. It is not easy to bring a reader to empathize with a central character but this author does it in spades. I really enjoyed her previous trilogy and this new book only solidifies my belief that she will just get better and better. Make sure to put this book on your to buy (and read) list. This book, by itself, would make a terrific movie or TV series. Coming in November, this is sure to be a winner. Nina rocks.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rach

    Nina Guerrera is a FBI Special Agent . When she was sixteen she escaped a serial killer. Nina is getting on with her life until she is jumped in a Virginia park which is filmed and it gets the attention of the man who abducted her eleven years. Determined to catch Nina again the man commits a murder to bring Nina into the investigation and this is just the beginning of his games. Nina is partnered with Dr. Jeffrey Wade, who she knows from the past and doesn't particularly like him. He is also ha Nina Guerrera is a FBI Special Agent . When she was sixteen she escaped a serial killer. Nina is getting on with her life until she is jumped in a Virginia park which is filmed and it gets the attention of the man who abducted her eleven years. Determined to catch Nina again the man commits a murder to bring Nina into the investigation and this is just the beginning of his games. Nina is partnered with Dr. Jeffrey Wade, who she knows from the past and doesn't particularly like him. He is also haunted by his past. Nina is determined to catch him and will stop at nothing. This book isn't for the faint hearted. Nina as a character had already been through a lot in her life before her abducted (she was found in a dumpster at 1 month old and raised in various foster homes) and then she was abducted. Eleven years later Nina is a now a FBI Special Agent and the one person she dreaded is back but Nina doesn't let her own fear stop her and she doesn't stop at nothing to catch him. She certainly is a strong character. There is some gruesome parts in the book as you read the serial killer carry out their plan. I liked the team Nina worked with and looks like we will see more of them as well. I presume we are getting another book in this series and I have feeling Dr. Jeffrey Wade past might feature at one point in the future books. I received a ARC from Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for an objection review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mackey

    My Amazon First Reads selection for October, The Cipher was an enjoyable piece of crime fiction. Our primary character, Nina, is tough as nails and sigh of relief from the usual protrayal of ditzy female agents. The remaining characters are typical agents but with a biting humor and a great use of word play. One can tell that the author has experience, her writing is detailed and on point. I highly recommend The Cipher and am looking forward book 2 in the series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amber Young

    I finished it. I'm not sure how. The story was fast paced. There is a lot of potential for a very interesting read but it just never got there. The characters were uninteresting and I couldn't find an emotional connection with any of them, as hard as I tried. The ciphers weren't even interesting. The story is filled with a lot of movement and yet it isn't anything that adds to the plot. I gave it two stars because I did read it, and the editing seems to be done well. I finished it. I'm not sure how. The story was fast paced. There is a lot of potential for a very interesting read but it just never got there. The characters were uninteresting and I couldn't find an emotional connection with any of them, as hard as I tried. The ciphers weren't even interesting. The story is filled with a lot of movement and yet it isn't anything that adds to the plot. I gave it two stars because I did read it, and the editing seems to be done well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    julia ☆ [owls reads]

    The Cipher was a really intriguing and engrossing read up until the final climax. The writing was compelling and the way Maldonado developed Nina as a character was wonderful; she was such a complex character and her strength and determination to face her past traumas were very well written. Big content warning for rape and torture as those themes were discussed several times throughout the book. My issue was with one (1) scene nearing the end of the novel. Spoilers ahead. (view spoiler)[I really The Cipher was a really intriguing and engrossing read up until the final climax. The writing was compelling and the way Maldonado developed Nina as a character was wonderful; she was such a complex character and her strength and determination to face her past traumas were very well written. Big content warning for rape and torture as those themes were discussed several times throughout the book. My issue was with one (1) scene nearing the end of the novel. Spoilers ahead. (view spoiler)[I really really r e a l l y didn't buy the way Nina was captured. After everything, for her to be fooled like she was??? It felt very cheap and didn't make any sense with the character and plot development up until then. It came across, to me, like that had to happen at some point and Maldonado had no better ideas on how to write that scene. Unfortunately, that meant the big twist and climax of the novel fell flat to me. Since I couldn't believe Nina fell for the Cipher's trick, what came after made me feel no sense of danger or fear. The story just... fell apart. Because of that, the ending wasn't as satisfying as it should have been. (hide spoiler)] So, I will not be continuing the series. Even so, if you're looking for a quick mystery read, this might be the book for you.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Get it here: Amazon US * Amazon UK Get it here: Amazon US * Amazon UK

  15. 4 out of 5

    George like to read

    I really tried hard to read this, 😭I couldn't go beyond 100pages, I might try to pick it some other time may be. I really tried hard to read this, 😭I couldn't go beyond 100pages, I might try to pick it some other time may be.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Feinen

    Predictable. I truly appreciate the attention this book brings to at risk youth - those who runaway, homeless, victims of abuse, all of them. This group deserves our attention, compassion and protection.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fred Shaw

    A spellbinder difficult to put down. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Linda Harris

    Great read. Loved the characters especially Nina .... Loved how the team all got pulled in together. some disturbing scenes ... But good plot line One of those books you find hard to put down , looking forward to next book in the series

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn B. Bowse

    Well written thriller Ms Maldonado captured my interest from the first paragraph to the last word! Her knowledge of police procedures, crime scene investigations, and human foibles is evident throughout the story. She captured the inner soul of Nina, both as a victim and fighter. As a former English teacher, I found it refreshing to read a story that flowed seamlessly. I recommend this book to all mystery, thriller, and police procedure enthusiasts! Great read, Ms Maldonado, I look forward to re Well written thriller Ms Maldonado captured my interest from the first paragraph to the last word! Her knowledge of police procedures, crime scene investigations, and human foibles is evident throughout the story. She captured the inner soul of Nina, both as a victim and fighter. As a former English teacher, I found it refreshing to read a story that flowed seamlessly. I recommend this book to all mystery, thriller, and police procedure enthusiasts! Great read, Ms Maldonado, I look forward to reading other books you have written! Buy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Antigone Walsh

    Unbelievable Nina , a young Hispanic woman, was abandoned at birth. She survived the treacherous foster care system. Her abduction, rape and torture at sixteen by a man never caught drove her into law enforcement. Now an FBI agent she is determined to prove herself. When a viral video puts her on her abductor's radar she must gather her strength to bring him to justice. But the passage of time gave him the opportunity to hone his craft. Compounding matters is the fact that she is partnered with t Unbelievable Nina , a young Hispanic woman, was abandoned at birth. She survived the treacherous foster care system. Her abduction, rape and torture at sixteen by a man never caught drove her into law enforcement. Now an FBI agent she is determined to prove herself. When a viral video puts her on her abductor's radar she must gather her strength to bring him to justice. But the passage of time gave him the opportunity to hone his craft. Compounding matters is the fact that she is partnered with the disgraced profiler whose reservations about her almost cost her her appointment at the FBI. I'm usually up for a good serial killer yarn but this one left me cold. Nina is one dimensional and not especially engaging. Her team is sanctimonious and inept. The agents are indistinguishable and the handling of the killer's internet activity including release of Nina's sexual assault is unbelievable. The foray into eugenics was unnecessary. The final showdown was also incredible. That Nina and the team are deemed worthy of a special unit because of their resolution of the case is laughable. Not a fan.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lynda Kelly

    One of my Kindle First choices of this month......I wasn't especially struck with it as it isn't really anything too unique. A feisty female protagonist with a miserable, abusive past who now takes no nonsense from anyone. She comes up again a killer some years ago and then has a further encounter in the modern-day.....I've read it all before. I enjoyed it well enough and will probably try the next in this series, as I liked her trio of co-workers, especially Breck. So it will be interesting to One of my Kindle First choices of this month......I wasn't especially struck with it as it isn't really anything too unique. A feisty female protagonist with a miserable, abusive past who now takes no nonsense from anyone. She comes up again a killer some years ago and then has a further encounter in the modern-day.....I've read it all before. I enjoyed it well enough and will probably try the next in this series, as I liked her trio of co-workers, especially Breck. So it will be interesting to see where these characters go in future instalments, I reckon. I also liked young Bianca a great deal. I was a little irritated that Nina chooses to live among "her community" in America. Therein lies a big issue for me. Why are there these communities all separate from the nationals, all speaking another language ?? Then they wonder why we have racism and dislike.......same happens here. She was born and raised in America, so the Latinas aren't really HER community at all !! There were quite a lot of Americanisms and acronyms I had to keep looking at, which is distracting.....like "I've got her six" or "Nina goosed the sleek black Tahoe" and I didn't like the rat analogy she used. She did mention an ankle tattoo on a captive, when we'd just been told that only her neck to waist had been shown in a picture and spread-eagled should be used and not the spread eagle she wrote but that was it for errors, which is impressive. I DID enjoy the legend of Florence Martus, though, and I googled the bronze, which is delightful. I'd have scored 3.5* and would've rounded it up if it hadn't been so predictable and was a little more original.

  22. 5 out of 5

    geraldine merino

    Engrossing!!! I couldn't put it down. I read it over 2 days. I e of the most memorable books I have read in years. I loved it.. Engrossing!!! I couldn't put it down. I read it over 2 days. I e of the most memorable books I have read in years. I loved it..

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))

    “‘This isn’t only about murder. It’s about obsession… And he’s just getting started.’” This was an instantly engaging read. The MC, now a badass FBI agent, was a victim as a teen. Now her abductor has returned and wants to finish what he started over a decade ago. The killer taunts the MC with his most recent killings, turning them into a global affair online. The serial killer is clever and builds puzzles into the killings…hence “The Cipher”. This book was a great new serial killer thriller. I “‘This isn’t only about murder. It’s about obsession… And he’s just getting started.’” This was an instantly engaging read. The MC, now a badass FBI agent, was a victim as a teen. Now her abductor has returned and wants to finish what he started over a decade ago. The killer taunts the MC with his most recent killings, turning them into a global affair online. The serial killer is clever and builds puzzles into the killings…hence “The Cipher”. This book was a great new serial killer thriller. It was modern and clever. The main character had a strong personality and was memorable. I also liked the side characters, like Bianca. Highly recommended for those needing a page-turning thriller. I look forward to the second one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    4.5 stars An intense cat and mouse chase, with one side trying to prevent further death at the hands of a serial killer, and the other side looking to acquire their ultimate target. The one that got away. I'm not always sure about the books included in Amazon's First Reads program, but occasionally they have a winner. Based on early reviews, this was one of my selections for the month of October and boy did it not disappoint. If you like strong female characters, this is your book. Special Agent Nin 4.5 stars An intense cat and mouse chase, with one side trying to prevent further death at the hands of a serial killer, and the other side looking to acquire their ultimate target. The one that got away. I'm not always sure about the books included in Amazon's First Reads program, but occasionally they have a winner. Based on early reviews, this was one of my selections for the month of October and boy did it not disappoint. If you like strong female characters, this is your book. Special Agent Nina Guerrera is the epitome of a badass heroine, appropriately nicknamed Warrior Girl. She has repeatedly been physically assaulted, but these horrific events don't break her, they only seem to make her stronger. Her ability to bounce back and fight to protect others made her an easy character to cheer for. If you enjoy the inner complexities of solving a crime, this is your book. With a serial killer nicknamed, The Cipher, you'd expect him to make things interesting for the FBI. I thought it was interesting not only how he put together his clues, but how he involved social media to feed his desperate ego and adding to the chaos in the FBI's investigation. If you are a fan of shows like Criminal Minds or Hannibal, this is your book. When the BAU is mentioned, I immediately thought of these two shows. But beyond that obvious comparison, the way the storyline developed and how the FBI works to find the killer, had similarities with those shows that appealed to me. A true nail biter! I won't get into the plot, but I thought it was well thought out and kept me engaged. It is also clear the author did their homework adding believability to the story. Adding American's obsession with social media and its controversial role in key events, was also effective. Overall, a great read. So, if you checked off some or all of the points above, this is your book. For more reviews, visit

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachelle

    Fans of Criminal Minds will love this book Riveting. This book is hard to put down! Excellent drop into an FBI investigation working with the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Nina was a compelling and colorful character and definitely lived up to her heroic name. The bad guy was so bad it was scary. The author did an incredible job of writing this realistic story without going into graphic detail. I appreciate how difficult that is to do and applaud her writing skills. That said, there are many disturbin Fans of Criminal Minds will love this book Riveting. This book is hard to put down! Excellent drop into an FBI investigation working with the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Nina was a compelling and colorful character and definitely lived up to her heroic name. The bad guy was so bad it was scary. The author did an incredible job of writing this realistic story without going into graphic detail. I appreciate how difficult that is to do and applaud her writing skills. That said, there are many disturbing details as this involves a serial killer. This book is not for sensitive readers. If you're a fan of the tv series, Criminal Minds, then you will absolutely love this book. You probably won't get any sleep until you reach the extremely satisfying ending!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debra H. Wruble

    Intense Well written story about a female FBI agent who encounters a serial killer she had escaped from as a teen. The killer is obsessed with her, the only one who got away. He must possess her again. Scary good.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Val

    Trigger warning: child abuse, rape. This book was the first one I've read in Amazon First Reads. I guess they can be hit or miss but this one was a hit! When 27-year-old FBI special agent Nina Guerrera is attacked by a high school student while jogging, she fights the boy off and arrests him. A video of the assault goes viral, and just like that, Nina's past nightmare hits replay. The story follows her as she stalks the man who took her hostage and tortured her eleven years prior, when she was st Trigger warning: child abuse, rape. This book was the first one I've read in Amazon First Reads. I guess they can be hit or miss but this one was a hit! When 27-year-old FBI special agent Nina Guerrera is attacked by a high school student while jogging, she fights the boy off and arrests him. A video of the assault goes viral, and just like that, Nina's past nightmare hits replay. The story follows her as she stalks the man who took her hostage and tortured her eleven years prior, when she was still a teenager. (That part was difficult to read at times, and a little on the graphic side.) The author drew on her 22 years in law enforcement, which added realism, but I felt the use of coincidence was relied on a little too often. I loved reading about Florence Martis, the waving girl of Savannah! And even more, I seriously adored Nina's young neighbor, Bianca. I really hope she shows up in future books! I predict this will be a long-running series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Great writer This book gripped my attention...I couldn’t put it down.Nina was a strong and amazing woman.Her story was intriguing and unique.It makes me sad to think how many young girls have been treated badly in our systems.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kirstyn

    Thrilling to read, I'm excited to see this is a new series and will be looking forward to reading the next book in August It's very well written and keeps you wanting to read more. There are a couple details I still have questions about but nothing that deters from the story Thrilling to read, I'm excited to see this is a new series and will be looking forward to reading the next book in August It's very well written and keeps you wanting to read more. There are a couple details I still have questions about but nothing that deters from the story

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeeves Reads Romance

    Engaging and realistic It's not often that I read a true thriller and get really hooked into the story, but that was definitely the case with this one. Perhaps it's the author's background in law enforcement, but this has a very authentic, realistic feel to it. While all of the case details can get a little dry, it makes for a read that is immersive and fascinating. There's a compelling heroine and a modern element to keep things interesting, and the case is gritty and raw without being over the Engaging and realistic It's not often that I read a true thriller and get really hooked into the story, but that was definitely the case with this one. Perhaps it's the author's background in law enforcement, but this has a very authentic, realistic feel to it. While all of the case details can get a little dry, it makes for a read that is immersive and fascinating. There's a compelling heroine and a modern element to keep things interesting, and the case is gritty and raw without being over the top gruesome. Essentially, the story follows Nina, a federal agent who went into law enforcement because of her own experiences. As a teen, she was held captive and sexually abused by a man who has not been caught. He's continued terrorizing other women while saying that Nina is the "one who got away," so she's got a unique perspective as the FBI tries to track him down. Nina's past clashes with her present in a very public way as the case progresses and the search continues. It's well done and interesting, becoming more and more suspenseful as the story progresses. Nina makes a great character and I really became invested in her story. While there's definitely content that's difficult to read, the author does a great job laying out the facts without going into unnecessary detail about specific acts. I loved the addition of social media into the case because it made everything seem more relevant and modern. It's an interesting read and a true thriller without a romantic element, focusing on the case and the individuals involved.

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