Time Killer by Todd M. Thiede

There’s a new murder/thriller writer on the horizon, and his name is Todd M. Thiede. His work won’t be for everyone – it’s grisly and violent and he spares nothing in his description of the crimes. Then again, that’s what crime thrillers are all about, so readers should know or be prepared going in.

Time Killer is set in quiet, smalltown Rockton, Illinois. It’s about to have its peace shattered by a series of murders that begin one morning at 2 a.m. when a man named Stephen Bjornson awakens to see a man standing at the foot of his bed. At least he thinks he sees it – he realizes he’s been drugged. He then finds that he is tied to his bed and duct-taped, and soon sees that his wife Gwen has suffered a similar fate. But that’s only the beginning. What comes next, he wonders? Well, the intruder says Stephen has wasted his time and he calculates that to be worth $633. What?

It’s all bizarrely civilized at first (except for the being tied down, duct-taped and drugged part). The intruder asks for the money and is furious at Stephen, telling him he needs to learn a lesson. Stephen tells him where to find $650 in the house,  and the man even returns the $17 in change. If only that were the end of it. But it turns terribly violent quickly and before the scenario is over, three people will be dead and Stephen will wish he were, too. Messages will be left behind, in the victims’ own blood, accusing them of what the killer feels is their crime and warning others to avoid the same fate – “Don’t Waste People’s Time” is one message left at the Bjornson home.

The best detective in town, Detective Max Larkin, is assigned to investigate the case. He’s also assigned a new partner in the form of a young woman named Jesse Fairlane. He’s not happy about it but they are soon immersed in the awful facts of the crime and will have to figure out their partnership as they go along.

To make matters worse, the killer is apparently on a killing spree and soon there are other cases to solve with the same gruesome murder techniques and messages. The real surprise is when these latest crimes seem to be tied not only to a case from 10 years ago, but also to one from 25 years ago.

 The killer is good, leaving no clues at the scenes. His only motive seems to be that he is furious about having his time wasted, because as he mutters as he kills, “time is money.”

The book is fast-paced and well-written. Author Thiede has a definite flair for suspense. The book won’t be for everyone but it will appeal to many and they will be happy to know this is the first in a planned Max Larkin series.

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