Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli
Release Date: October 28,
Detective Blake Stephenson of the Seattle Homicide Unit teams up with Sergeant Wade McKinnon in Audrey J. Cole’s medical thriller, Viable Hostage, the new action-packed novel in her Emerald City Thriller series.
When McKinnon’s niece, Malorie, witnesses her best friend and roommate leave a campus bar with a mystery date driving a silver Mercedes, she suspects foul play, especially when Lani fails to return home the next day. Both women, med students in their final year at Elliott Bay University, have a lot riding on the line, but due to Lani’s wild past, no one in her family is worried. When Malorie’s fears for her roommate deepen, however, she turns to her Uncle Wade.
Within 48 hours after Lani goes missing, the partial remains of a brutally murdered young woman wash up on Alki Beach, and a human hand is found in a crab pot off Bainbridge Island. When one of the bodies is identified as a pregnant, fourth-year medical student, Wade believes there’s a connection with Lani’s disappearance. And, that they might be looking for a serial killer.
Malorie suspects Lani’s kidnapper is someone they know, possibly even one of their professors at the university, a prominent Seattle anesthesiologist whose wife is the president of EBU. But when Stephenson discovers evidence that links another suspect to the professor’s Mercedes, he and Wade must act fast to attempt a wild rescue in the middle of Puget Sound.
If you’re like me and like anything medical, you will enjoy Viable Hostage by Audrey J Cole. There were a few surprises in this book that I didn’t see coming.
The lights were on when Malorie opened the door to her apartment. Had she left them on? She couldn’t remember.
She set her bag on the kitchen table and looked around the apartment. Something was off, but she wasn’t sure what. There was a faint smell she didn’t recognize. Nothing appeared out of place, but she had a creeping feeling someone had been inside her apartment.
She went to Lani’s room and turned on the light. It was the same mess it always was. She crossed the hall and stood in the doorway to her own room. It was perfectly neat. Her bed was still made from yesterday morning, since she’d slept on the couch the night before.
She felt a chill when she returned to the living room. Her eyes moved toward their large window and the rain that spilled onto the floor under the opened windowpane. She moved across the room and pulled the window shut. She looked down at the fast-moving traffic five stories below.
Like the lights in the apartment, she couldn’t remember opening the window. But she did open it from time to time. And she hadn’t exactly been clear minded since Lani disappeared. Still, she wondered if she should call her uncle. Although she couldn’t waste his time when she wasn’t even sure she hadn’t opened it herself.
She turned from the window and scanned the apartment’s main living space. It didn’t leave many places for an intruder to hide. She was sure she was alone. Plus, being on the fifth floor, there was no way someone could’ve gotten in through the open window. Maybe she was growing paranoid from her lack of sleep. If she wanted to pass her midterm tomorrow, she needed to get some rest.
Malorie turned off the living room lights before heading to her room. She changed into sweats and crawled into bed. After two hours, she found herself staring at the ceiling, unable to will herself to fall asleep. She rolled over and checked the time on her phone. It was almost two a.m.
She threw back her covers and crossed the hall to Lani’s room. She climbed into her roommate’s unmade bed and lay her head atop Lani’s pillow. When she smelled the familiar scent of Lani’s perfume, she smiled.
Malorie turned on the lamp on Lani’s bedside table and opened the textbook that lay on the nightstand. She pulled out the ultrasound photo and rolled onto her back. She traced her finger across the tiny form. Barely noticing the tears that escaped down her cheeks, she set the ultrasound photo back on the nightstand before turning out the light. She continued to think about her fun-loving friend until she was finally overcome by sleep.
There was something evil in the way he had looked at her. He was dangerous. Psychotic. Malorie could see it in his eyes. Those cold, dark eyes. He was chasing her.
Malorie ran faster, with so much adrenaline she didn’t feel the ache in her legs or the burn in her lungs as she gasped for air. She could feel him getting closer. Hear the sound of his boots scrape against the pavement behind her. He’s going to kill me.
She felt him close in behind her. A sharp pain ripped through her arm as he grabbed her and drew her close to him with tremendous strength. Malorie opened her mouth to scream as she was awakened by the sound of her alarm.
She wasn’t being chased. She was in Lani’s room. She sat up in her roommate’s bed, sweating through her t-shirt and breathing hard.
She silenced her alarm, flooded simultaneously with relief that it was just a dream and the familiar dread that her best friend was missing and possibly never coming back.
……Thank you Audrey J. cole