STORYLINE: Nate Rodriguez is a NYPD sketch artist who is drawn into an investigation where the killer draws pictures of his crime and victims before killing them. Rodiguez uses his skills to produce an image of an unidentified murderer. The killer is highly intelligent and pits himself against Rodriquez in a terrifying game with dire consequences. One unique aspect of Anatomy of Fear is the fact that there are pictures and sketches within its pages.
Nate Rodriguez has gone through the Police Academy but uses his drawing skills to catch criminals. Detective Terri Russo brings him into the case as he had done a sketch in the past that led to a crime being solved. The two become close, however their relationship is hampered by the fact that Nate has issues with his father’s unresolved death, a carryover from his teens. He also seems unwilling to commit to a relationship based on his solitary existence.
Detective Terri Russo made a mistake in the past that had affected her career. Solving this case would take care of the baggage she’s carrying from that case. However, her life is complicated by the romance with Nate as she cannot seem to stay in a relationship for any length of time.
I LIKED: the fact that the story covers a lot of ground to do with facial expressions and how we unknowingly reveal what we’re feeling. The sketches add an interesting element to the story. I’ve never read a book done quite like that. I think Nate’s character was well-written.
As the criminal planned his crimes his pictures took shape. In the same way, Nate’s drawing of the criminal took on more solid form the closer he got to catching him. It’s hard to explain how Nate’s gift helped him connect with the criminal, however, his grandmother had visions linking Nate to the man committing hate crimes. Nate has this gift to a much lesser extent, but his sixth sense helped him in putting a face and a name to a smart killer.
I COULD HAVE LIVED WITHOUT: the way in which Detective Terri Russo is drawn. She comes across as a tough cop (which she is), who has been in and out of relationships (if you want to call them that). She’s sensitive about the way in which she thinks Nate sees her and gets touchy much too easily, (the word belligerent comes to mind) which leads to quarrels and walkouts. Thinking back, I still don’t know much about her history.
OVERALL COMMENTS: The book is billed as the ultimate in suspense by reviewers, but I didn’t get into the story until I was about a hundred pages in, but I’m not sure why that is. I may have been distracted by Russo’s past relationship with someone with seniority over her, and then there was the obligatory power struggle between the police department and the FBI.
The visions and premonitions experienced by Nate’s grandmother fascinated me because in Jamaica, these gifts are accepted, rather than frowned on or viewed as hocus-pocus.
Nate’s willingness to follow clues, even when he became a suspect, moved the story along in a tense race to an ending that could easily have resulted in disaster for Nate, and other unwitting participants in one man’s holy war.
There was an unresolved plot thread, however, I suspect that it might have been dealt with in follow up novel. If you’re big on crime and suspense, you won’t regret reading Anatomy of Fear.