I just finished reading PAINT IT BLACK by PJ Parrish. I’ve just started the series, so as usual, I’m behind everyone else. This is the second full book, and I really liked the first one, but I loved this one. I loved it so much, I decided to do more than a review and to write about it here.
It’s gritty, but for me, it never went too far. It’s violent, but we hear the violent acts but don’t have to watch them. I can only take so much these days. When I was young, bring on the horror and gory! Show me a new serial killer. But those days are behind me. Which is odd. Because I can write about them with more ease than I can read them. Maybe because I put myself in the killer’s mind and what he’s doing feels like what he would really do? Not sure. But hinting at things off screen works better for me these days.
The Louis Kincaid stories are thrillers, and this one revolves around a serial killer. His psychology fascinated me. And the farther I read, the more I knew that eventually, Louis Kincaid would be high on his list of victims. That made for great tension. To the point, (and, sorry, because this might be a spoiler that ruins some of the tension when it happens). that he kidnaps one person but doesn’t kill her because she doesn’t fit his profile. It’s such an insight into the killer’s motives, I thought it was brilliant.
Besides the mystery and motives, I enjoyed how the characters in this book were fleshed out. And it was all done in such an understated way with so few words and deep conversations, I was impressed. Each character is mindful and respectful of each other’s space. They all have past histories, and some of those histories are painful, so they tiptoe around them, never prying, never pushing too hard. That made it so that when I learned a little about them, a peek into what happened that they avoid, it made it all the more meaningful.
The end was a fight to the finish. Well done. The protagonist didn’t just walk into an obvious trap, even though I do think he could have figured out who the last victim was sooner. But that aside, the end delivered a strong, emotional impact. It worked. And the wrap-up wasn’t exactly what I expected but realistic, so actually better in its way.
This book had complex, private characters; a great villain; strong teamwork between the good guys; and plenty of tension for a thriller. It’s going high on my list of favorite reads.