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Leslie Wolfe's "Taker of Lives" starts slowly. She introduces her main character, an FBI profiler who's been working alongside some officers in their Florida precinct. She thinks she might like the young guy. But they don't get much of a chance to find out. Agent Tess Winnett tags along to the apparent suicide of a young model who appeared to have the world at her feet. She stuffed herself with pills and ended it. Her parents took it badly. The case looks open and shut. But Tess thinks something else is going on. She sees something amiss. Thus begins the Taker. The model's parent's reluctantly confide that their daughter had been devastated by something she found online, photos of her in compromising positions while she's out cold. It ruins her career and her relationship with her fiance. Tess says she thinks it's the start of a serial killer who uses social media to destroy the lives of her victims. Somehow this Taker of Lives, as the unknown subject becomes known, gets into the victim's home without tripping any alarms, drugs the victims and then broadcasts the images on the dark web. And Tess was right. More victims surface. Tess works with a computer sleuth to figure out who the Taker targets, but mostly they play catchup. Tess and her fellow cops can't seem to get any headway in this new kind of predator. And their Taker is smart. And prolific. Just ruining lives isn't quite enough. The torture goes live and the Taker gets people to vote on how the victim will suffer. The stakes continue to increase. Somehow Tess and crew must stop more from winding up as victims. Wolfe's writing is superb and her descriptions excellent. Her incorporation of social media to assassinate someone's character is equally interesting. I'm on the third of her books now and a little afraid she will cause me to put everything else aside just to finish another of her books.
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on May 7, 2018
Bestselling author Leslie Wolfe weaves another great mystery, thriller and suspense, with intriguing twists and turns that will easily captivate the reader’s attention from the beginning. The author paints a gripping and mesmerizing detective story in a very vivid and convincing way. In addition, the characters are drawn with great credibility and conviction. It’s a fast-paced novel that will keep you engaged from the first page to the last.

The book description gives a sneak preview: ‘Until yesterday, no one knew Florida had another serial killer on the loose. Special Agent Tess Winnett calls this particularly elusive one the Taker of Lives.

After a well-known model commits suicide, Tess refuses to accept the findings and pushes for an investigation into the reasons behind the beautiful young woman’s decision to end her life. What she finds surpasses her wildest fears.

Each new crime scene brings more questions than answers. While secrets are revealed, even those meant to be kept forever in the dark, Tess can draw only one conclusion: she’s not the one in charge; the Taker of Lives controls the game, the players, even the course of the investigation.

With little information and even less evidence, Tess must connect the dots of a deadly scenario with a large number of potential victims. If she fails, another beautiful, young girl will die tonight, and the blood will be on her hands…’

Now, if that’s not enough to get your curiosity juices flowing, I don’t know what will. But if you want to find out what happens, you’ll just have to turn the pages for yourself! However, I will say it’s always well worth reading Leslie Wolfe’s novels as this author never fails to deliver.

Taker of Lives had every element a good story should have. An intriguing plot, attention to detail, but best of all fleshed out, well-written and well-rounded character development. There’s an abundance of well-illustrated scenes that make you feel like you are right there in the story, and that’s something I really look for in a good book.

Very appealing and alluring, this work had me immersed from the beginning. The story flowed from scene to scene with ease, and the author shows exceptional ability (as always) when it comes to storytelling. There is plenty of non-stop action in this page turner that will take the reader on a truly gripping and intriguing journey.

I’m a big fan of this author so I’ll be looking forward to reading more from Leslie Wolfe in the future. I would recommend this book and would add that it has a distinctly cinematic feel to it. I see no reason why it couldn’t be adapted for the Silver Screen. In my humble opinion, I honestly think this would make a great movie. Five stars from me.
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on June 6, 2018
‘Taker of Lives’ is the first of Leslie Wolfe’s novels that I’ve read; it won’t be the last. To try to sum it up in a few words by labelling it as a procedural crime novel with a difference would not really be doing it justice. Yes, it is about a single-minded FBI profiler’s hunt for a serial killer; yes, it features a strong female protagonist; yes, she’s backed up by a couple of male cops who bring their experience and unique way of doing things to the hunt. It is all this and more. Much more.

First, author Wolfe has imbued her female protagonist with a solid, realistic, down-to-earth feel that contrasts nicely with her insights into the mind of the killer she seeks, allowing this to highlight her emotions and frustration, as her investigation seems to be thwarted at every turn. Yet, for me, the key to my enjoyment of this superb read lays in the original twist Wolfe gives to her serial killer. I won’t go into details, as this ventures into the realm of spoilers, yet suffice it to say I’ve not come across a villain as despicable and scary as this one in a long time. The author manages to convey the feeling of impotence suffered by protagonists, at the killer’s ability to always be several steps ahead, into the mind of the reader with awe-inspiring ease. The contemporary nature of the antagonist’s crimes is also something that stands out in the tale, something readers can easily identify with, which makes the story all the more credible. Definitely a novel for, and about, the times we live in.

A bonus for this reader is the undercurrent of incisive criticism of how our society works these days, with its false idols flashing into public awareness like so many shooting stars on a dark summer night. An outstanding read. Highly recommended.
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on June 8, 2018
This is another outstanding work by Leslie Wolfe and easily better than a lot of what the big publishers push onto the bookshelves of those increasingly rare bricks and mortar bookstores! It’s novels like “Taker of Lives” that are gradually converting me to actually enjoy reading with a device instead of turning paper pages, but I digress. . .

Anyone who enjoys a good mystery told at a page-turning pace with a dash of interesting technology and a highly original plot will enjoy this novel. The interspersed chapters in which the killer speaks directly to the reader provide very effective insight into the thinking of a person who sees nothing wrong with psychological torture and actual murder – and actually engenders a little sympathy for the killer’s motives.

I was also impressed with how the killer draws Tess (the main character) more personally into the rapidly unfolding events, adding substantially to the evolving tension of the story and the urgency to solve the puzzle and save potential future victims.

And, if you read Wolfe’s prior Tess Winnett novels, you’ll enjoy the further development of the relationships between Tess and her boss and coworkers. These characters would be great for a new television series (hint, hint, Amazon – or someone capable of outcompeting Amazon!).
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on May 16, 2018
Wow. I think I just fell head over heels in love with a fictional character (not that way Dofus!). Tess Winnett is one of the smartest FBI agents and profilers I have come across yet and with analytical skills to rival Sherlock Holmes. Capable and passionate about her work she has honed her skills to such a level she is almost prescient.
In The Taker of Lives Tess comes across a new breed of serial killer that have chills racing down my spine. He is smart...well, let me rephrase that, he is super intelligent and lusts for fame...or notoriety and will jealously prey on any woman realising fame in her own right. And he is but only starting out now, still testing and flexing his muscles, so to speak.
This is one thriller that has the capability to haunt your sleep (pun not intended) especially as a wily serial killer gets identified so early in his career. It becomes an all out race to catch this killer before his death toll rises too much and he becomes the most prolific and notorious serial killer of all.
And the reader is caught up willy nilly into this maelstrom and frenzy along with every single other character trying to bring this unsub to justice quickly.
Hats of to Leslie Wolfe for easily the best thriller I have read in this genre for many, many years!
Enjoy!
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on May 6, 2018
WOW. That was good! A really eerie scary killer is killing young girls who are in the public eye. It was interesting how Tess and the others work through it all together to find this elusive killer and the reason for the murders. Its fast paced detailed with a twist you never see coming. I actually lost track of time reading - way late in the night. Ive really enjoyed this authors books-well worth the read.
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on June 17, 2018
The Tess Winnett FBI Serial Killer Profiler Series

I just finished Taker of Lives, the fourth book in the series. This was an outstanding read, just like all the other ones in this series. It had an added element of creep when the UNSUB speaks directly to the reader, without revealing who it is, of course.

Now I’m a huge Leslie Wolfe fan and can’t wait for the fifth book to come out. Here’s the entire series in order:

1 Dawn Girl
2 The Watson Girl
3 Glimpse of Death
4 Taker of Lives

Las Vegas Girl is a stand-alone I liked. I hope it turns into a series. The characters are great.

Check ‘em all out. You’ll love ‘em.

Cheers!
JIM in MT
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on July 4, 2018
This is the third or fourth Leslie Wolfe novel that I have read and it is not my favourite, but it is still good. The character of Special Agent Tess Winnett was almost unlikeable at times. She really was quite b*tchy to colleagues and those trying to help solve the case, always losing her temper or raising her voice (and they were working just as hard as she was). She did win points back for the favour she did for Special Agent in Charge Alan Pearson. Decently paced, an interesting story and hoping the good guys will solve the clues and arrest the guilty unknown subject or *UNSUB before that person performs one last time, kills another girl and moves on will keep you reading the book, but it did not reach "must read, page-turner thriller" status for me. I will read more of Leslie Wolfe's books and have pre-ordered the latest title coming out in July.

*AfterThought: I first heard the term UNSUB used this way many years ago, but like some readers, I did get tired of reading it (perp was used once).
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on June 19, 2018
Another great page turner from Leslie Wolfe! Once again Tess unravels the riddle on another sick mind. And once again Leslie climbs inside that sick mind to provide some insight into that dark side. Great twist at the end you won't see coming. The Tess books aren't for everyone because they delve deep into the dark side, but there is no better author in this subject area. Super rich detail and well painted characters. She's the new superstar. Now, if you want something thrilling but a little less serial-killer dark, try Leslie's other series. They're all great books too.
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on July 8, 2018
The story is appropriately titled. It contains all the ingredients for a riveting crime thriller. It is well thought out and keeps the reader engaged to the last chapter. The personalities are well defined and interact in a manner that lets the reader understand the definition of power and pecking order.
The main character is a strong-willed female with a clear cut ability to predict the killer's need for fame. The killer leads the FBI and local law enforcement team on a race against time that leaves a trail of dead women. Each death is individually planned and executed, leaving no evidence behind. Each death leaves the authorities more puzzled and frustrated, finally the techies pull enough info to analyze the next potential victim.

The ending was lackluster in my opinion. It read like a poor attempt of a surprise ending that just ran out of gas. I expected more of an "unexpected" finale.
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