Top positive review
“I don’t need another rectal exam from the F. B. I.”
Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2020
It’s expressions like that throughout the pages of “Cipher”, by Isabella Maldonado, that had me cheering when I reached the last page. This is a fast paced, hard hitting mystery/police procedural that takes the high road, Hallelujah!
Maldonado spent 20 years in the police business, was the 1st Latina in her precinct to reach captain, was selected to FBI, and more. Her experience shows on every page. There are no superheroes, no TV movie moments or big screen scenes. That’s not to say it’s not exciting, because it is! The tension builds in layers as the story unfolds. We have an opportunity to learn about the lead character AND the antagonist.
The plot is complicated but not contrived. Cipher is both the bad guy and a plot element that needs attention in order to solve the crime. The main character, Special agent Nina Guerra, is intimately involved with this case. Her experiences from childhood will be instrumental in solving this crime; devastatingly, horrifyingly relevant. These layers kept me interested and tho’ I was 99% sure of the outcome, I didn’t mind at all, because I did not have any idea WHO the Cipher was. I highly doubt anyone will...
Unlike Maldonado’s other series, this book has very little prose and what there is relates to the procedural aspects of the story or its character descriptions; nothing much about scenery. The crimes themselves, tho’ violent, are not described with great detail or in any offensive manner. There is obviously a sexual component and motivation for the Cipher character. It’s handled as discreetly as possibly with no crude descriptions.
As my title would imply, the preponderance of language in this book is acceptable for your 12 year old, however, as it is about a serial killer of a sexual nature and it does get HIGHLY intense and horrifying at two different points in time, both of those scenes include uses of the f-bomb. Those two scenes aside, the language employs some soft expletives and turns of phrases that make the point without assaulting your senses.
“The Cipher” is book 1 in a new series with book 2, “A Different Dawn” scheduled for release in August of 2021. There’s no cliffhanger here but the author leaves a big hook to the next book inviting us all back for another adventure with Nina. This was a quick reading, well constructed story that kept my attention from beginning to end. Nina Guerra just joined my exclusive club of characters to follow📚