“The Last Victim” (Ballantine Books, $26) by Karen Robards is a paranormal romantic thriller about Dr. Charlotte “Charlie” Stone, an expert in criminal pathology. She has a grant to study serial killers. Her office is in a maximum-security prison, where she conducts interviews.
Charlie sees what others do not. Since she was a child, she has seen and talked to the ghosts of those recently killed in a violent manner.
Her mother thought she had an invisible friend. Years of psychiatric treatment only caused Charlie to pretend her ghostly visitors are gone.
When she was 16, she watched a man butcher the family of her best friend, Holly. Holly was found buried beneath the boardwalk. Charlie never told anyone about the visions she saw of Holly and her mother, after they died.
Information she gave to the police drove the Boardwalk Killer underground, but now, years later, he seems to have resurfaced.
FBI Agent Tony Bartoli tells Charlie a teenage girl is missing, and that her family was slaughtered. He begs Charlie to help.
She is reluctant to get involved but knows she is probably the one person who can help find the killer.
Along with Bartoli, she is joined in her search for the killer by the ghost of serial killer Michael Garland. She saw him killed in prison, and he appeared to her immediately after.
Usually her ghosts disappear after a week, but Michael is an exception. When she finds that the Boardwalk Killer is after her, she needs all the help she can get.
This book is the first of a series that will feature Charlie and her seductive ghost. It contains explicit, erotic, not quite believable sexual activity between the two of them when Charlie has an out-of-body experience and meets Michael on some other astral plane.
— Betty Lytle