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The Cipher (Nina Guerrera Book 1) Kindle Edition
An Amazon Charts bestseller.
To a cunning serial killer, she was the one that got away. Until now…
FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera escaped a serial killer’s trap at sixteen. Years later, when she’s jumped in a Virginia park, a video of the attack goes viral. Legions of new fans are not the only ones impressed with her fighting skills. The man who abducted her eleven years ago is watching. Determined to reclaim his lost prize, he commits a grisly murder designed to pull her into the investigation…but his games are just beginning. And he’s using the internet to invite the public to play along.
His coded riddles may have made him a depraved social media superstar—an enigmatic cyber-ghost dubbed “the Cipher”—but to Nina he’s a monster who preys on the vulnerable. Partnered with the FBI’s preeminent mind hunter, Dr. Jeffrey Wade, who is haunted by his own past, Nina tracks the predator across the country. Clue by clue, victim by victim, Nina races to stop a deadly killer while the world watches.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
“The survivor of a vicious crime confronts her fears in a hunt for a serial killer…forensic analysis, violent action, and a tough heroine who stands up to the last man on earth she wants to see again.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[In] this riveting series launch from Maldonado…the frequent plot twists will keep readers guessing to the end, and Maldonado draws on her 22 years in law enforcement to add realism. Determined to overcome her painful past, the admirable Nina has enough depth to sustain a long-running series.” —Publishers Weekly
“The Cipher by Isabella Maldonado is a nail-biting race against time.” —POPSUGAR
“Maldonado does a superb job of depicting a woman who’s made a strength out of trauma, and an even better job at showing how a monster could use the internet to prey on the vulnerable. Maldonado spent 22 years in law enforcement and her experience shines through in The Cipher.” —The Amazon Book Review
“A heart-pounding novel from page one, The Cipher checks all the boxes for a top-notch thriller: sharp plotting, big stakes, and characters—good and bad and everywhere in between—that are so richly drawn you’ll swear you’ve met them. I read this in one sitting and I guarantee you will too. Oh, another promise: You’ll absolutely love the Warrior Girl!” —Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author
“Wow! A riveting tale in the hands of a superb storyteller.” —J.A. Jance, New York Times bestselling author
“Intense, harrowing, and instantly addictive, The Cipher took my breath away. Isabella Maldonado has created an unforgettable heroine in Nina Guerrera, a dedicated FBI agent and trauma survivor with unique insight into the mind of a predator. This riveting story is everything a thriller should be.” —Hilary Davidson, Washington Post bestselling author
Previous Praise for Isabella Maldonado
“Maldonado’s a writer to watch, and she showcases her own extensive law enforcement background in this tightly plotted police procedural.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Maldonado, a former law enforcement officer, brings her experience and expertise to this gripping police procedural. With its gritty heroine, this action-packed mystery will attract readers who enjoy crime novels about the war on drugs.” —Library Journal
“Phoenix may be burning, but Maldonado’s star is rising. Gritty and gripping.” —J. A. Jance, New York Times bestselling author
“Maldonado’s writing always bristles with urgency and authority.” —Mystery Scene Magazine
“Delivers a brilliant and complicated heroine, accented by a take-no-prisoners plot…It’s spicy, smart, and entertaining, definitely worth your time.” —Steve Berry, author of The Lost Order
“A highly entertaining police procedural…Maldonado rises to her written challenge to entertain, enthrall, and engage readers in this high-octane thriller.” —Suspense Magazine
“A tense thriller with a strong sense of place and an insider’s look at some of the most dangerous work in law enforcement.” —Jan Burke, New York Times bestselling author
“The Phoenix sun isn’t the only thing burning in this thrilling debut, and I look forward to more.” —Shannon Baker, bestselling author of the Kate Fox mystery series
“An ex-narc leads a war against a powerful crime family. The payoff is satisfying.” —Kirkus Reviews
“If you’re in the mood for a nonstop exposé of every fear you’ve ever had about cartel crime, Veranda Cruz is the woman to follow.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Finally! A kick-ass female protagonist and an author who knows firsthand the world she writes about. The combination makes for an explosive read that grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go.” —Alex Kava, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Lost Creed
“Red alert to all readers of police procedurals with a strong thriller bent: Isabella Maldonado’s Death Blow delivers nonstop action with substance, grit, and surprises.” —Lisa Preston, author of The Clincher
“Gritty, raw, and realistic, Isabella Maldonado’s Death Blow is the real deal.” —Bruce Robert Coffin, bestselling author of the Detective Byron mystery series
“A gritty, gut wrenching, page-turning thriller featuring a woman cop bent on bringing down a twisted cartel leader for reasons of her own, Death Blow grabs you from the first jaw-dropping scene to the last, and Maldonado’s stellar writing weaves it all together.” —Jamie Freveletti, internationally bestselling author of Blood Run
From the Publisher
Now, years later, Nina is an FBI special agent fighting for the innocent. When her public takedown of an assailant goes viral, Nina’s thrown into the media spotlight—and into the sights of a killer she once escaped. To him, she’s the one that got away. When murder victims resembling Nina start to pile up, she’s forced to face a horrific moment from her youth to uncover the unsub’s identity. But the closer she gets to answers, the more Nina puts herself at risk.
Isabella Maldonado’s The Cipher is the first book in an #ownvoices series, and it hooked me from page one. Nina is a diverse, take-no-prisoners heroine whom we can’t help but root for and admire.
- Megha Parekh, Editor
- ASIN : B083J7QQ89
- Publisher : Thomas & Mercer (1 Nov. 2020)
- Language : English
- File size : 1991 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 332 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,766 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 November 2020
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Years later Nina finds herself "going viral" when a video of her beating up an attacker while she's out jogging appears on social media. Shortly afterwards a young girl is found murdered and clues are left to suggest that Nina's attacker of 11 years earlier is the killer,encouraged to come out of the shadows after seeing the online video. Both the modus operandi and a written clue show knowledge only someone connected to her attack would know.
Nina finds herself working as part of a small team,including to her dismay Dr Wade, now under a cloud from apparently messing up a previous case.
As the hunt progresses the Killer revels in the publicity and taunts the police ,and Nina in particular, with cryptic clues as to where he will strike next and using social media as a weapon and to stoke his growing ego.
The book is very well-written, I was impressed with the author's in-depth knowledge of the FBI,then read at the end of the book that she had a very successful career in law enforcement, including graduating at the FBI Academy at Quantico before turning her hand to writing. The story is involving and pacey with plenty of action , Nina's back story plays a big part and there are some quite graphic descriptions of her experiences that are not for the squeamish.
This book is very obviously the beginning of a series, and one that will become very popular. Nina is a great character and her small team work well together. Ms Maldonado has a great writing style, there's non-stop action and some quite difficult scenes that in lesser hands could have been exploitative .
If you like Karin Slaughter or Angela Marsons you'll enjoy this one.
1) The Cipher was 36-year-old (turn to page 85) but at the end of the story, he was 32.
2) Bianca, the ubiquitous, highly intelligent girl (supposedly), was nowhere on the scene at the time when her ingenuity was needed most. How could the author explain Bianca's lack of action, despite Nina has given her some clues about being in distress?
3) Nina was not able to recognise the voice of Cipher on several occasions. She was unable to connect the paramedic (the Cipher 11 years ago) vs the Cipher who she came face-to-face with when he attacked her in Freedom Trail. She failed to detect his voice on the night she was abducted the second time. But, she was able to identify the Cipher when she heard his voice on the video? Doesn't make sense.
I was a little irritated that Nina chooses to live among "her community" in America. Therein lies a big issue for me. Why are there these communities all separate from the nationals, all speaking another language ?? Then they wonder why we have racism and dislike.......same happens here. She was born and raised in America, so the Latinas aren't really HER community at all !!
There were quite a lot of Americanisms and acronyms I had to keep looking at, which is distracting.....like "I've got her six" or "Nina goosed the sleek black Tahoe" and I didn't like the rat analogy she used. She did mention an ankle tattoo on a captive, when we'd just been told that only her neck to waist had been shown in a picture and spread-eagled should be used and not the spread eagle she wrote but that was it for errors, which is impressive.
I DID enjoy the legend of Florence Martus, though, and I googled the bronze, which is delightful. I'd have scored 3.5* and would've rounded it up if it hadn't been so predictable and was a little more original.