Prior Sins

DJ Gross
Prior Sins
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Amazon Digital Services
Release Date
September 2011
Romantic Suspense/Mystery

He hunts monstrous criminals

Psychologist and Oxford University Professor Hadrian Prior helps the British police catch violent criminals. Understanding the dark impulses that drive men to maim and kill comes easily to him. When he temporarily swaps teaching positions with a University of Michigan colleague, Hadrian assumes he'll be on a sabbatical from crime. Then a series of disturbing assaults occur on campus and the Ann Arbor police ask him to consult on the case. Pursuing a link between the perpetrator and ancient mythology leads Hadrian to Sarah Roth. His reaction to her challenges his long held assumption that emotional intimacy is beyond him.

She believes she's a monster

University of Michigan Classics Professor Sarah Roth dreams of blood and death. Her mother warned her to never share her dreams or she'd be locked away. Sarah pours her passion into teaching as a relationship is out of reach. When Hadrian approaches her for information, she is shocked by her attraction to him. Hadrian is dangerous to her but the demons inside her like to live dangerously. As Sarah struggles to keep her distance from Hadrian, her dreams become more vivid and violent.

The real monster is hunting her

Someone on campus is secretly obsessed with Sarah. He is recreating the Labors of Hercules, violent feats of power and strength, to prove worthy of her love. Once he's completed his quest, Sarah will be his forever.

Book Review by CathyS
Dec 14, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
233 people found the following review helpful
Another brilliant novel by DJ Gross. Her first – Stolen Justice – had me gripped, and this one was equally riveting.

Criminal psychologist, Hadrian, assists the Thames Valley Police in Oxford, UK in hunting down sadistic killers. Repaying a favour to a long-standing colleague, he swaps teaching positions with him to take up a post in Ann Arbor, Michigan, US, where he predicts that lecturing at the university, there will be a quiet, rather more mundane job and anticipates he will have to supplement his police-assisting duties with a new hobby. At the same university is pretty Classics professor, Sarah – a lecturer favoured and much loved by her students. Quiet and insular, she is haunted by dreams of blood and sinister words from her now dead mother.

It's not long before Hadrian's sabbatical starts to mirror his Oxford life, when a serial rapist starts targeting the university attendees. Hadrian, Sarah and a killer obsessed by the (mythical) Labors of Hercules are brought together at a thriller, edge-of-your-seat pace, as clever Hadrian pieces the puzzle together.

The mythological elements in this story were fascinating, very well recounted and interwoven into the story seamlessly and enjoyably. I think I can say I learned a little about Greek and Roman mythology – only a little, but memorably! Ms Gross's knowledge and/or research were impeccable. Along with her skilful, very readable style, this book was a compelling but effortless race to the end.

Ms Gross neatly incorporates a story sidekick – the events responsible for Sarah's nightmares are beyond traumatic and Hadrian's innate curiosity and psychological background qualify him to help her. Not only that, the two are, of course, hopelessly attracted to each other. Just the right amount of emphasis is put onto their developing relationship; the scales of the romantic elements and the murder mystery are perfectly balanced.

Two small 'buts'; a number of typos/punctuation errors – nothing too serious, but in all honesty, avoidable. However, the portrayal of Hadrian as an Englishman, whilst for the most part was very good, if not very nearly perfect, was cringingly spoilt by his calling Sarah 'love'. The term is regional and demographical, but it's not typically British. This let this otherwise superb book down at the last hurdle. This won't put off all readers – it did disgruntle this British reader a little, but I am a staunch avid fan of this author and eagerly await her next novel.
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