I had my first experience of this series back in June, perhaps not entirely sensibly starting with the 4th book Flashbyte. I said at the time I wanted to go back and start at the beginning and now I have. As if being an FBI agent doesn't put enough on her plate Ellie Conway also runs a poetry chat room with friend Mac. Sounds harmless enough but on the same night that she gets a record number of death threats the virtual becomes all too real. When her would be killer turns up dead himself, in the boot of her car, it becomes clear she is dealing with more than just a disgruntled poet. The body count keeps rising and Ellie and Mac struggle to stay one step ahead of the seemingly omniscient murderer.
I really took to Ellie reading Flashbyte and as a character she is just as likeable in this book. Despite the pressure she is under she shows she is one tough woman and still displays a sense of humour. Things don't just fall into place magically for her, although the big break in the case does come from a chance remark. Her family is complicated and, between finding out about her parents and brother and seeing her become closer to Mac, she becomes a character with depth.
The story packs one punch after another, some of them in a slightly stomach churning way. As more and more chat room patrons turn up dead and Ellie and Mac keep moving to try and keep those around them safe a couple of good suspects emerge, but just when I thought I had it all sussed I discovered I was wrong. There was some benefit from reading the books out of order, as I recognised some characters who turned up in Flashbyte, and eventually I will work my way through the others in the series.
This is an eventful crime thriller, and from my point of view all the better for having a strong woman who I could imagine having as a friend in the lead. It misses out on being five stars by a narrow margin, although I would rate Cat Connor's series as on a par with some of the heavy hitters of the genre.
Format: Kindle, review copy
Publisher: Rebel ePublishers
My Rating: 4*