FBI Special agent Brad Raines is facing his toughest case yet. A Denver serial killer has killed four beautiful young women, leaving a bridal veil at each crime scene, and he's picking up his pace. Unable to crack the case, Raines appeals for help from a most unusual source: residents of the Center for Wellness and Intelligence, a private psychiatric institution for mentally ill individuals whose are extraordinarily gifted.
It's there that he meets Paradise, a young woman who witnessed her father murder her family and barely escaped his hand. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Paradise may also have an extrasensory gift: the ability to experience the final moments of a person's life when she touches the dead body.
In a desperate attempt to find the killer, Raines enlists Paradise's help. In an effort to win her trust, he befriends this strange young woman and begins to see in her qualities that most 'sane people' sorely lack. Gradually, he starts to question whether sanity resides outside the hospital walls...or inside.
As the Bride Collector picks up the pace-and volume-of his gruesome crucifixions, the case becomes even more personal to Raines when his friend and colleague, a beautiful young forensic psychologist, becomes the Bride Collector's next target.
The FBI believes that the killer plans to murder seven women. Can Paradise help before it's too late?
When I read the blurb I couldn't wait to sit down and devour the book. It had me at "serial killer". What could be more interesting for a psychology graduate than a book about a serial killer? The cover and the title also attracted me. The book starts with a crime scene, which I thought was very well described. It made me picture the scene very clearly, which I thought was very good. I also liked Raines partner, Nikki, a forensic psychologist. I liked her not only because of her job, but also for how the author imagined her: she knows when to ask questions and when to listen, she admits that she can't "figure" everybody out, even though that's her job.
I also liked how the people with a high intelligence are described. Yes, geniuses sometimes have mental problems and yes, they are outcasts. And I liked that the author managed to show that.
The book lost me the moment the killer was revealed very quickly. I know that the police have no clue who the killer is, but I do. And I like the mystery and the thrill of not knowing who the killer is. Maybe the idea is to show that the killer was a genius and how he manages to avoid looking too suspicious to the cops. But I'd rather "feel" that he's a genius without knowing his identity. I would have liked a little exercise, a little more mystery. The few scenes from the killers POV that I read didn't give me the image of a genius. Instead he appeared like any other sociopath to me.
I do think that the book has potential and maybe some readers wouldn't be put off by the early (dare I say prematurely) reveal of the killer's identity.