Gruesome serial killing is the incendiary spark for this inventive suspense novel, whose settings involve both Scotland and New York City.
The book opens in 1995, when Detective Inspector Patrick Campbell of the Glasgow Police Department receives an odd, unmarked package. Inside, along with a pair of eyes floating in formaldehyde, is the taunting note “I’ve had my eyes on you.” After a second package arrives with another body part and equally bizarre note, a task force is quickly assembled to unearth the serial killer.
Despite their best efforts, the police are baffled because of a lack of clues and DNA, but they must move quickly because soon members of the police are being targeted as well. Fingering one of their own, the Glasgow police believe the crime has been solved. Then three years later, an eerily similar killing spree involving “organ donations” descends on New York City. As the police work on their crime-solving, readers are drawn into the vicious killer’s mind and early years, giving perspective on the grisly events from his twisted point of view.
Wright’s engaging novel is tightly woven together with multiple unpredictable threads. It also builds good depth of character for the killer, aka “the Organ Donor,” and Patrick Campbell, the first to receive an unwelcome “gift” from the killer. While numerous other players emerge, their characters are less well-developed, which is unfortunate, because the quirky and likable Campbell exits early and later characters are never defined in a compelling way.
Nonetheless, despite a few small editing issues and thin character studies in the book’s latter part, The Organ Donor brims with life and spirit equal to the works of popular novelists Jonathan Kellerman and Stephen White. The plot shows imagination, and the text sparkles with solid, well-researched details.
Fresh and briskly paced, this thriller will prove an absorbing read to most fans of the genre, in spite of its weaknesses.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.