“The Dark Before Dawn” by Laurie Stevens
Gabriel McRay is a good cop, but when you have anger issues sometimes that is not enough to keep you on the job. After several incidents had been made public in the local newspaper, McRay had to seek the assistance of a psychologist and even then his superiors where ready to suspend him, until the serial killer they were tracking suddenly linked the reasons for the murders to an alleged past history between McRay and himself.
Like it or not, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is suddenly dependent upon McRay looking into his past to figure out who is the killer. Unfortunately, the past is the last place McRay wants to go and it is only with the help of Dr. Berkowitz that he is able to dredge up recollections and visit the dark places he has blocked since his less than stellar childhood.
The killer is striking fast and furiously using the seven chakras, a bodies energy centers, as the clue to his mindless bloody disfigurements and the disposal of the bodies. Not for the faint of heart, this blood-curdling thriller kept me up at night. With so many potential suspects, including the protagonist himself, we are left grasping at straws to the final pages to discover the final clue that brings it all home for McRay as he is forced to confront the evil done to him as a child in order to discover the true murderer.
Stevens nicely weaves together a troubled mind of the protagonist, the tentative beginnings of a relationship between him and the medical examiner Dr. Ming Li, and the start to a new police procedural series.