Invisible by James Patterson and David Ellis.

If nothing else, “Invisible” is the perfect road read if you want to insure not falling asleep at the wheel. Four hours from home on our return trip from Montreal, we had completed one book, and there was too much driving time left not to begin another.

This tale of terror begins with a nightmare, and deteriorates from there. Emmy Dockery, an FBI analyst on indefinite leave from her job, is consumed by grief and obsession. Eight months earlier, her twin sister Marta, died in a house fire. Her death was ruled an accident resulting from an unattended candle. But the circumstances of Marta’s death and numerous other so-called accidental fire fatalities, are too similar for Emmy to ignore.

Convinced the fires are connected, and anything but accidental, Emmy enlists the help of her former fiance, FBI field agent Harrison “Books” Bookman. Like everyone else, Books believes Emmy’s grief over Marta’s death has caused her to lose touch with reality. In other words, he thinks she’s crazy. That is until Emmy shows him her research and he becomes her ally in a deadly game where a demented serial killer appears to hold all the cards.

Emmy’s first challenge is her boss, who is a smarmy, condescending pig. And those are just his good qualities. Despite Emmy’s evidence, he refuses to let her come back and work the case. Emmy and Books overcome this and other obstacles, and when a highly respected forensic specialist uncovers the gruesome details about how some of the more recent victims actually died, Emmy is vindicated and back on the job.

What the FBI team, now investigating single fatality house fires nationwide, knows is that all the victims were subjected to hours of unspeakable torture and murdered before being burned beyond recognition. What remains illusive is who this demented killer is, why the excruciating torture and when the next killing will occur.

The murders continue, and the killer’s pattern is beginning to emerge. But I’ll save you some time and energy here. Don’t even try to figure it all out. Patterson and Ellis aren’t playing with a full deck. When all is revealed, you’ll shake your head in disbelief at the twisted minds of Patterson and Ellis, not to mention that of the killer.

The audio version is read by two narrators. The killer’s chapters are always preceded by eery, and irritating music. Emmy’s chapters have no music, and, because we had begun to dread the killer’s bone-chilling confessions, the lack of that annoying music before the start of the next chapter was almost a relief.

By the time we arrived home, we were so entangled in the plot, we put off unpacking, and read all through dinner, moving into the living room to finish the book.

“Invisible” is not for people with weak stomachs. It is however for those who like a diabolical, fast-paced plot, and unpredictable characters.

Published June 23rd 2014 by Little, Brown and Company

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