By Mark Combs
Title: Silent Screams
Author: C. E. Lawrence
Series or Standalone: Book 1 of 3 in the Lee Campbell-profiler Series
A Deranged Killer’s Twisted Urges –In the streets of New York City, the Slasher chooses his victim–and makes his move. As he wraps his fingers around the girl’s pretty throat, his power increases. As he carves into her skin, his words become flesh. As he arranges her lifeless body in a loving tableau, his fantasies demand new, more violent sacrifices. . .
A Profiler’s Cunning Plan –At first, NYPD detectives suspect a jealous boyfriend. But criminal profiler Lee Campbell senses something darker, even ritualistic, about the murder. More chilling, he’s convinced he’s witnessing the genesis of a full-blown serial killer. But time is running out. A new victim has been chosen. Campbell must search the most terrifying recesses of the human mind–and his own past–before the screaming starts again. . .
Lee Campbell works for the NYPD as a criminal profiler. He’s also a guy with his own set of issues – a somewhat overbearing mother, and the unresolved disappearance of his sister. What I like about Lee Campbell is that he’s not the stereotypical protagonist – perfect and stunningly handsome, without a care in the world other than solving the crime. He is flawed, and has some serious issues that he is dealing with – depression resulting from the disappearance of his sister. Throughout the novel, it becomes obvious that he has accepted that she is dead, but that he still holds onto a thread of hope that she may still be found alive. These competing emotions eat at him like a wasting disease. Campbell also shows his vulnerability through his willingness to ask for help. He regularly sees a therapist for his depression and unresolved issues regarding his missing sister, and he consults a former professor, who also happens to be his mentor, for help in solving the Slasher killings.
The story is a bit slow at times, but for the most part, it moves at a suitable pace. The killer taunts Campbell and the police, providing them with a few red herrings as the killings continue. The story culminates in an ending I saw coming only right before it happened. I found that the killer’s reason for killing was a bit of a stretch, given what we learn throughout the novel, but this doesn’t detract from the surprise ending, which proved a satisfying way to wrap up the story.
Bottom line: C. E. Lawrence’s Silent Screams isn’t an edge-of-your-seat thriller, but it is a good book. I enjoyed the time I spent reading it, and look forward to learning more about Lee Campbell in future books.
Reviewer’s Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher/author in exchange for an impartial review.