★ ★ ★ ★
An impressive debut by Ellison Cooper, Caged was a well crafted and disturbing thriller that felt like an episode from Criminal Minds, with a kickass female lead! Sayer is a neuroscientist with the FBI, who specializes in the brain of serial killers. When a young woman’s body is discovered in a cage in a basement of an abandoned house, Sayer is assigned to the case to track down the killer. The public is in an uproar and the case won’t leave the headlines until the killer is brought to justice, and that’s when the news breaks that another girl has been taken.
The premise of this was interesting and finely executed with a complex female main character who was strong, determined, and bold. Quite the opposite with how many female agents are portrayed, which I loved, because Sayer is a character we need to see more of, and this made for a great groundbreaking introduction into her story. I also found this to be heavy and uncomfortable at times with the violence and trauma that take place, which I can understand is a part of the story, but one thing I want to note that there is torture, to both human beings and an animal in the beginning, which might not be for some readers, which is completely understandable. The actual premise was executed especially well, to the point you feel claustrophobic with the events happening and as the clock starts ticking.
I loved the fact that there is real science being discussed throughout the chapters, with the author, Ellison Cooper, having a Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA, with a background in archaeology, cultural neuroscience, ancient religion, colonialism, and human rights—so the information we are being presented with is accurate, in-depth, and told in a way that any reader can understand. Caged is a chilling and fast-paced character-driven thriller that was one of the best I’ve read this year.
FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair hunts for evil in the deepest recesses of the human mind. Still reeling from the death of her fiance, she wants nothing more than to focus on her research into the brains of serial killers. But when the Washington D.C. police stumble upon a gruesome murder scene involving a girl who’d been slowly starved to death while held captive in a cage, Sayer is called in to lead the investigation. When the victim is identified as the daughter of a high profile senator, Sayer is thrust into the spotlight.
As public pressure mounts, she discovers that another girl has been taken and is teetering on the brink of death. With evidence unraveling around her, Sayer races to save the second victim but soon realizes that they are hunting a killer with a dangerous obsession…a killer who is closer than she thought.
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Minotaur Books
I received a copy in exchange for an unbiased review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.