Thursday, February 2, 2023

Book & Audio Review: The Cipher by Isabella Maldonado

The Cipher

Isabella Maldonado
Narrator: Roxanne Hernandez
Series: Nina Guerrera (Book 1)
Publication: Thomas & Mercer (November 1, 2020); Brilliance Audio (November 1, 2020)
Length: 332 p.; 10 hours and 24 minutes

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: Nina Guerrera grew up in foster care after being found in a trash bin as an infant. She was kidnapped by a depraved man when she was sixteen and raped and branded by him. However, she managed to get away. To get out of the system, she has herself declared an emancipated minor and changes her last name from Esperanza to Guerrera - from hope to warrior.

Eleven years later, she's employed by the FBI and comes to her rapist's attention again when she fights off a new attacker while jogging in the park and has the fight show up on social media. That alerts her attacker to her whereabouts, and he begins a campaign of riddles and social media posts to attract her attention. He also commits a series of grisly murders which have the FBI traveling around the country trying to solve his clues and stop him from his killing streak.

On Nina's team is one of the best mindhunters the Bureau has available. He and Nina have had a run-in in the past when he tried to convince the Bureau not to hire her because of the past trauma in her life. Now they need to find a way to work together if they are to find this killer and stop him.

This was an action-packed and fast-paced story. I loved getting to know Nina and learn about her life. Roxanne Hernandez did an excellent job with the voices and with the pacing of the story too.

Favorite Quote:
"After years of seeking, I thought I would never have Hope again. But today, everything changed. She calls herself a Warrior now. But to me, she will always be...the One That Got Away."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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