by Rick R. Reed


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One by one, he’s killing them. Lurking in the digital underworld of, he lures, seduces, charms, reaching out through instant messages to the unwary. They invite him over. He’s just another trick. Harmless. They’re dead wrong.

When the first bloody body surfaces, openly gay Chicago Police Department detective Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate. Sickened by the butchered mess of one of his brothers left on display in a bathtub, he seeks relief outside where the young man who discovered the body waits to tell him the story of how he found his friend. But who is this witness…and did he play a bigger part in the murder than he’s letting on?

Comparetto is on a journey to discover the truth, a truth that he needs to discover before he loses his career, his boyfriend, his sanity…his life. Because in this killer’s world, IM doesn’t stand for instant message…it stands for instant murder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781951880415
Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC
Publication date: 02/10/2020
Pages: 374
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.83(d)

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I M 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
ChaosMoondrawn 7 days ago
I would rate this 3.25 stars. The title of the book IM (Instant Message) refers to how the killer meets his victims online. There is plenty to terrify anyone who thinks meeting up with a stranger to get off is a good idea. The men do it for a variety of relatable reasons: to alleviate loneliness; maybe they aren't out and want the anonymity; or they like the thrill of it--the surprise of who will come to the door. I didn't see a date (except for flashbacks), but I think this takes place during the late 90's in Chicago. The whole book is told as a series of little vignettes, slices of life, with each chapter from the different points of view of the people affected. Many of them are told from the men right before they are murdered with sick and gruesome details emerging later as a detective from the Chicago PD, investigates. Ed loses his job, likely due to homophobia in the department, but he can't let this case go and continues on his own, trying to find the killer who has taken to toying with him. The author builds the tension slowly with creepy noises, creaky floorboards, whistling and howling winds, and the thoughts of paranoia the characters experience. The writing style is piecemeal as the reader struggles to figure out what happened to the killer to "make him this way," but really it's probably a little bit of nature and a little bit of nurture. Be aware there are necrophilia elements, murder, rape, child abuse, drugs, AIDS, and dismemberment. I'm glad that the point of views are short so as not to become too attached to the people who die, and the style which is also removed, like an outside observer allows a distance. That is also a criticism because nothing feels too immediate and I think the book suffers for it with a lack of emotional investment on my part. The writing style also makes the book drag on so it feels much longer than a regular narrative. Ed repeatedly puts himself in danger, (unarmed!), due to his curiosity. Even his boyfriend Peter is at his wit's end with it and I am on his side. The book references all the famous serial killers with a nod to how they ultimately got caught, but they all went out with a whimper, not a bang. It was pretty anticlimactic. Here, the final confrontation and wrapping up of loose ends is strange and OTT (over the top). Then there is the fact that the story relies on a small, slight man described as elfin without much strength who outsmarts and physically outmaneuvers an ex-policeman that is in good shape and has 50+ pounds on him. This didn't work as a romance (Ed and Peter), but was slightly more successful as a suspense/thriller.
ocgreg34 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A serial killer has been making the rounds of Chicago, using a gay hook-up site to find his victims, and openly gay police office Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate. Things start to go wrong when the claim of a false witness statement forces Comparetto to reluctantly turn in his badge. To clear his name and possibly to get his job back, Comparetto starts his own investigation into the grisly murders, wondering just who that mysterious witness was and what he has to do with the growing number of murders.A promising idea for a story from author Rick R. Reed, but something just didn't click for me. All the characters seemed to overact, coming across as overly melodramatic, and I never found myself caring for any of them. Many times the characters even came across as clichéd: the gay cop who's booted from the force for being open with his sexuality and determined to find the killer to get his good name back; the self-loathing serial killer who (surprise) turns out to be gay. And for a former police officer, Comparetto has a knack for not assessing a situation before jumping in, and I found it difficult to believe that he had been good at his job.Some of the scenes, though, were very vivid and well-drawn, such as one of the killer's flashbacks concerning what drove him to kill. Effective and creepy, my skin crawled as I read it. I also liked the victim vignettes, giving a glimpse into the different personalities who use the hook-up site -- everyday men, looking for different ideas of love or a good time. And the little twist with the twins just added another good creep factor to a sometimes predictable story.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
IM is one of those rare books that scared the bejeezus out of me, to the point that I had to put the book down. A few days later, I was drawn back to the book 'like a moth to a flame.' The story moves quickly, switching seamlessly between several points of view - Ed Comparetto the detective, the victims, the bystanders and the killer. The third person narrative, switching to first person narrative with the murderer was intensely effective. Downright creepy! The mystery unfolds in many layers, shifting in time, twisting and turning to the heart-pounding end. Once everything is revealed, Reed isn't done with us yet the story continuing through one final confrontation between Comparetto and the killer. At first, when I read the 'blurb' on the back of the book I was slightly disappointed that so much was given away, but I soon realized that was only the beginning of something so much more. The blurb was like a plot device in itself. I also felt the ending left something unresolved, but once my heart rate returned to normal, the ending made perfect sense - Comparetto was where he wanted to be. Detective Ed Comparetto is an appealing character, a dedicated cop that still feels compassion and remorse for the victims. He isn't one of those wise-cracking police detectives, spewing out one-liners like some 'has been' stand-up comedian. When Comparetto enters the first murder scene, he's feeling unsettled and apprehensive, oppressed with 'what's behind door number one' type of feeling. He hides his true emotions well, slipping into that professional cop-mode, feeling the need to prove himself to those out there that are just waiting for him to 'slip-up.' His professional life is already threatened after a recent 'public' outing. Ed's a humanly portrayed character, with all his human flaws and human weaknesses. In other words, he's not an arrogantly perfect macho man. And this is not meant to be a negative reflection on Ed's sexual orientation. It is wholeheartedly meant as a compliment. I really got into Ed's character, his motivations and toward the end -- his fear. I loved Ed's lover, Peter. The two meet for the first time in a library where Peter worked, when Ed was researching a lead. Peter's like a breath of fresh air in the story, pursuing Ed with an amusing single-minded determination. He's a lot like Nick's Nora (The Thin Man Series), helping Ed investigate and sort out the conflicting clues. A real partner in and out of bed. I would have loved to see more of Peter. Peter begins to have second doubts about their relationship, when Ed starts to become obsessive about the case. For Ed it's more than just finding the killer, it has become something personal. And that's something Peter needs to figure out. The book should have Nightmare Warnings, because I sure as heck had 'em! I liked Reed's use of descriptive phrases to set the proper mood like, 'the gallery of ghouls,' to described the assembled investigation team at the first murder. I thought the plot became a little 'out there' with certain elements, but I realized that was just the type of book I was reading. I just suspended my mundane imagination a little and enjoyed the nightmare ... I mean the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Timothy Bright grew up being cared for by an Aunt, and sexually abused by her sadistic boyfriend, leaving him an extremely bitter and troubled man, self-loathing in his own homosexuality. Incapable of a normal relationship with anyone, he contacts other men for anonymous sexual encounters on a website called Men4HookUpNow.Com. Once they meet, Timothy attacks and brutally murders them, leaving a trail of unexplained sadistic killings to be solved by the Chicago Police. Ed Comparetto, a openly-gay rookie police detective who knows he must prove himself, was assigned to one of the earlier murder cases, hoping his sexuality might give him some insight into the case. At the scene, he interviews and comforts the slight young man who said he was a neighbor and friend of the victim, and who called 911 after finding the body. When Ed's superiors check out his report, find that none of the information he got checks out, and the name the man supposed gave him - Timothy Bright - is on record as having died several years earlier, Ed is suspended from the force, allegedly for falsifying the report. So begins a twisting and highly engrossing superb murder mystery, which will be especially frightening to many gay men since the territory (gay 'hook up' websites, gay clubs, inner city 'gayborhoods') is familiar, and the villain has more than a passing physical and M.O. resemblance to real-life sicko Jeffrey Dahmer ... thankfully without the latter's culinary peculiarity. Reed skillfully provides background information on Bright through diary entries from his aunt, and keeps the character simultaneously engaging and absolutely frightening in every way. Ed's suspension from the police force gives Reed the freedom to make this more of a personal battle for the young detective, who not only wants to catch this killer but to put himself back in a favorable light with his commander. The book is decidedly gory in parts, which I consider necessary in order to convey just how psychotic Bright is, making it clear he'll do anything to carry out his imagined vendetta against other gay men. Ultimately, others from Bright's past become the focus of his deranged actions, and Ed has to try to rescue his boyfriend from Bright's clutches. A well-written, thoroughly enjoyable, and absolutely terrifying novel, which I recommend highly. I give it five stars out of five.