I am thrilled to be the next stop on the blog tour for Taken, the brilliant new book from Monty Marsden.

It’s been two years since serial killer Giacomo Riondino escaped the clutches of the police, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Not able to come to terms with the murder of his friend, Greta Alfieri, Dr Claps has been on a mission ever since to find the man responsible. Now an American girl has gone missing in Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador. With no witnesses, the girl seems to have vanished into thin air. Convinced that this is the work of Riondino, Claps heads to Ecuador where he is sure the serial killer is residing. Will he finally be captured or will this obsession finally be the undoing of Claps?

After the dramatic ending of the previous book, Hunted, I had hoped that there would be a continuation of the Riondino story so was thrilled when I saw that there was. Riondino is probably one of the most horrific fictional serial killers I have ever come across and yet, due to his psychiatric condition, probably one of the most fascinating. The killer has a multiple personality disorder, each ‘person’ displaying completely different traits. Jack is the one in control who chooses which personality can come to the fore and it is Jack who we see most in this book. While some of the personalities have been suppressed, there are others who also make an appearance such as Hannibal, the murderous one and Julia, the gentler soul. Each play their part in this fantastic tale of a man’s mission to rid the world of this evil.

I love a book with a real-life setting, and such is the way Guayaquil is used, it almost becomes another character. As someone who knows little or nothing about Ecuador, I found myself googling places that were mentioned and became fascinated by the La Peñas steps. By using these steps as the location where the American girl went missing, the author has created a superb mystery – just how, exactly, could she go missing without anybody seeing where she went?

It soon becomes apparent that Claps is right to think that Riondino has set up home in Ecuador but not before several carefully executed pieces of misdirection by the author. With regards to Riondino, you know that a gruesome murder is probably round the corner, but in Taken, his modus operandi has changed. As a result, there were several points in the book where I could sense something was about to happen but was left with feelings of anticipation when it didn’t happen when I thought it would!

Monty Marsden

I really enjoyed the previous book but Taken was even better. In Riondino, Monty Marsden has the perfect villain and his superb writing really brings him to life – not that I would ever want this killer to actually exist! The plot is brilliantly chilling and provides more than one ‘heart in mouth’ moment. A must-read!

With thanks to Net Galley and Melanie Price at Aria/Head of Zeus for the ARC and for organizing the blog tour.

Take a look at the rest of the tour: