Laine Cunningham

Publisher's Weekly Review for Beloved: A Senual Noir Thriller (formerly He Drinks Poison) similar to Scandinavian noir

Cunningham offers an unusual variation on the serial killer thriller, but the explicit sex and violence may be too much for some readers. Veteran FBI agent Priya Conlin-Kumar, who has just been reassigned to Wheeling, W.Va., expects her new posting to be dull, with its focus on suspected money laundering, but she soon finds herself on the trail of a serial killer. In the first major plot twist, two very different men are busy slaughtering women in the area. Quinn Lawrence, a successful businessman, is organized, hand-crafting the tools of his sadism. Blue-collar worker Cole Bennett, who was brutalized by his mother, takes a less methodical approach. Though some unnecessary hype lessens credibility (“Not since 9/11 had so many people suspended their lives to follow one event”), making Priya a Kali worshipper adds depth to the lead. Priya has a nicely developed tragic back story, and her characterization is the book’s strongest element. (BookLife)