Cody McFadyen. Shadow Man (2006) 407 pp.

“San Francisco is a maze of steep hills and one-way streets, aggressive drivers and trolley cars. It has a certain foggy beauty that I’ve always admired, a singularity all its own. It is a mix of the cultured and the decadent, moving fast towards either death or success. At this moment, it doesn’t seem so unique to me. Just another place where murder happens.”

FBI agent Smoky Barrett, based in Los Angeles, leads a team of special agents assigned to deal with “the worst of the worst,” violent, psychopathic serial killers. Six months ago, Barrett herself became a victim when she was captured and tortured by a killer named Joseph Sands. The encounter—in which her husband and young daughter died before she killed Sands—left her horribly scarred, both physically and emotionally. Now, still trying to decide whether to kill herself or go back to work, Barrett learns that her best friend, Annie King, has been brutally raped and murdered in San Francisco, with Annie’s daughter in a catatonic state after witnessing the killing. Smoky has no choice but to join the investigation when she learns that the killer—calling himself Jack Jr., and claiming to be a descendent of Jack the Ripper—has left a personal message for her, promising to kill again and challenging her to catch him. The hunt moves back and forth between the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles as Jack Jr. demonstrates his ability to strike her and team at will, and with extraordinary viciousness. As Smoky gets closer to the killer, history threatens to repeat itself as a terrifying connection between Jack Jr. and Joseph Sands is revealed.
Setting: Los Angeles; San Francisco; Concord