In this second installment of Kill Game by Adam Nicholls and Jennifer May, we learn a bit more about Salem Ross. We knew in Part One that he wanted to reunite with Bella Cruz, now a police detective. When she lived in the basement with Salem, she was eight years old. We know that Salem has returned to entice Bella into a game of “Catch me if you can.” Beginning with Part Two, we find out that Salem knows where Bella lives and has entered her house for an unknown purpose. Bella surprises him but he gets away. Before this incident, police assumed Salem had returned; this was a first confirmed sighting.
We learn a lot more about Bella’s childhood captivity; how she attempted to deal with her confinement and her attempts to escape. The development of her character as a child in a stressful situation is good although a bit mature for one with an age in single digits. Her character development as a “mature” detective is one-dimensional. She wants to find Salem. Her superior and stepfather Captain Brooks doesn’t want her to get involved for both personal and policy concerns. Most of this installment is a push/pull adversarial relationship as she breaks rules while doing her own investigations. She is caught every time and there is always the predictable row with Captain/Dad Brooks.
We learn a lot more about Salem in this installment, but we can almost never criticize the development of a psychopath. They are not aware of their own parameters so there can never be criticisms of aberrant, illogical behavior. What a great character for an author to feature. After the unplanned meeting with Bella, there will be one more meeting in this installment in which Bella and Salem will meet face to face. Bella will shoot him, but he will again escape. It seems Bella is not that great a shot. Salem is amazingly spry, creative, and cunning for his advanced age. Salem escapes to another undisclosed location and the search recommences.
The forces of good and evil get closer as all pretense of Salem’s identity is dropped when he calls the police directly to talk to Bella. He wants her to meet him for a play session reminiscent of her younger days. If this doesn’t come about, more people will die. The entire purpose of installment two is to present a bunch of inciting incidents readers can presume will lead to a conclusion in chapter three.
This 75-page short read is available on Amazon for USD 0.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited. It is fast-paced (good for a short read). Like Part One, I gave this installment four Amazon stars.