Print Length: 382 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 21, 2019)

From Goodreads.com:  One killer on the loose. Another setting the rules. A profiler caught in the middle.

A serial killer is terrorising London, removing a body part from each victim and leaving in its place a single pink rose.

Dr Vernon Sange, a multiple murderer awaiting extradition, seems to know the culprit’s identity—but he’ll only talk to profiler Ziba MacKenzie, the woman responsible for putting him away. Though there’s something he wants in return from her. And time is running out.

With one killer whispering in her ear and another running rings around the police, Ziba must play a game in which only her opponent knows the rules, and the forfeit is death.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Although this is book number three in an established series, it can pretty much be read as a stand-alone. Yes, there are prior dynamics mentioned (both relationship-wise and storylines from the prior two novels). However, there is enough new material that I had no problem understanding this story and enjoying it. Please do keep in mind that I HAVE read the other stories, but it has been a while as I needed a break from this author and Ziba specifically due to issues I had with the prior novels. 

But some time has gone by and I felt it was time to give this series another chance. And while the story itself is decent.....

The problem once again comes down to Ziba herself. I get it. She's brash. She's a profiler with a military background. But dang is she really stupid sometimes. Time and again she allows Sange to not only get inside of her head, but to also manipulate her to the point she isn't thinking clearly. At one point Sange says "I am surprised you haven't asked me about him" and Ziba immediately jumps to the conclusion that he is speaking of Jack, the man she sort of has feelings for. Never mind the fact that her entire reason for visiting him in prison was to get information on the killer who she speculated was a male to begin with), no it absolutely had to be about Jack.

That and I feel like time and again Sange drops hints that Ziba just doesn't put together until much later (seriously, I had pieced one piece of the puzzle together LONG before she did). And while she is quick to point the finger at certain characters, she also, to borrow a phrase, doesn't see the fox in the hen house? 

Now to be fair, I did enjoy this novel a bit more than I had the others. I feel like in some ways, the author has finally found their footing with these characters, and the sudden surprise at the end guarantees that I will be reading the next novel in the series. Because man, I have to know where the author goes from here. I just hope Ziba finally grows into her true potential while still keeping the snarky internal commentary she has. 

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                                          Snakes and Ladders is available from Amazon.com
     (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)