On a beautiful April day, the seasons suspended between spring and summer, a woman in a bridal gown lies under a stand of oak trees, throat slit, ring finger missing. She’s the latest victim of the Wedding Crasher, a meticulous murderer who’s killed five women across three states without leaving a clue. The last two bodies were found in Pickett County, Tennessee.
Sam Tate is Pickett County’s new sheriff. A former Nashville homicide detective, she struggles with her inner demons and the nightmares born of a horrific childhood trauma. Respected but closely guarded, Sam has colleagues but no real friends. Even after she assembles a multi-agency team to hunt down the Wedding Crasher, her impulse is to go it alone. To further confound matters, she’s attracted to her case partner, FBI Special Agent Terry Sloan, even though she isn’t sure she trusts him.
Another body is discovered, in circumstances that closely resemble but don’t exactly match the earlier homicides. Is a second predator at work in Pickett County? Is the serial killer working with an acolyte? Why is Sam suddenly a target? And how can she stop the Wedding Crasher before another bride-to-be dies?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was an excellent story, expertly tailored to fit the occasion. The reader expects the story to progress like a running stitch, carefully placed and steadily moving towards the inevitable conclusion. And then, somewhere in the middle, just when you think you've got this pattern perfectly, you encounter a zigzag stitch. No sweat, you're certain you can re-focus and pick up the pattern again. Until you hit the back stitch, then another running stitch, then the totally unexpected chain stitch. And you wonder how you could have ever thought this would be a nice, predictable story. Nikki Stern expertly moves us into the world of Sam Tate, awesomely flawed and powerful law enforcement officer saddled with a serial killer who seems hell-bent on making her life miserable. And you'll be sure you have the whole thing figured out by page 230, but I promise you that you're wrong. When you finally unravel the complete backstory, you'll sit there looking at the page, stunned, until you realize... there's still more to come. Nikki pulls you in like a thread on a bobbin, and inexorably binds you to the unfolding story stitch by stitch. A great story you'll read more than once to see if you can find that spot where your expectations and the author's incredible mind parted ways.
I really, really enjoyed The Wedding Crasher by Nikki Stern and was very happy this is the first in what I hope will be a long, satisfying series about Sam Tate. Stern is a master at telling a complicated story with multiple characters and plot lines across time and having it all make perfect sense and be easy to follow. There is enough detail about every character and event to fully engage you, and just enough left unsaid that you can’t wait for the next installment. Samantha Tate is the new sheriff in Pickett County, Tennessee. It’s Small Town, USA, but it’s not Mayberry. There’s an edge and history and hidden motivation. And someone is killing brides – The Wedding Crasher, five women across three states, the last two in Sam’s county. When yet another bride is found killed in Pickett County and Sam herself becomes a target it’s non-stop action and danger from then on. If a serial killer at large isn’t enough, we learn as the story unfolds that Sam isn’t a fan of brides or weddings and doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters. She has no real friends, doesn’t play well with others, has horrible nightmares stemming from a terrible childhood tragedy and now doesn’t know who she can trust. The Wedding Crasher is full of fine writing, well-developed characters and a plot that is logical, smooth and pulls you along at a fast-pace. It’s suspenseful with depth that promises more to come. It’s a police procedural in many ways but also a compelling story of people and relationships and love and betrayal. The setting and atmosphere completely complement the story. The ending is perfect – you’ll never see the culprit coming, and there are enough clues to entice you into future books. I received a copy of The Wedding Crasher from the author in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. All opinions are my own.