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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Fans of serial killer murder mystery thrillers like the Zodiac are in for a treat with The Thirteenth Apostle by Jo Anne Barnes. After a broken marriage and the accidental death of her young son, Wendy Coleman has managed to turn her life around as a horticulturist in Spring, Texas. Despite some misgivings from her boyfriend, Mike Broadwell, Wendy enjoys working weekends at the lounge bar, Brass Rail, alongside her best friend, Marsha Johns. But trouble arises when Wendy unwittingly finds herself as the new target of a sadistic serial killer prone to delusions of grandeur. After barely surviving a rape attempt and worse, Wendy teams up with Chief Detective Shawn Flannery to bring the vile man to justice. However, the brutal murder of a close friend forces Wendy to play a dangerous game where she ends up as bait.
Filled with suspense, intrigue, and nailbiting thrills, The Thirteenth Apostle is a gripping psychological thriller without a single dull moment in its entirety. Jo Anne Barnes rarely offers readers hints about the killer's identity and keeps pulling the rug from under your feet until the last few pages. This makes for a captivating read where you find yourself hooked into the pages, wondering what's going to happen next. The characters have well-fleshed-out arcs with believable backstories that define their personalities and provide agency to their actions. The Apostle is a terrifying villain. He justifies his crimes with a misplaced sense of religious self-righteousness, which makes him so compelling to read. Highly recommended.