Book Review – The Cipher by Isabella Maldonado

First published, 2020

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The story follows FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera as she stalks the man who took her hostage and tortured her eleven years ago, when she was still a teenager.

Now in her mid-twenties, Nina is filmed jogging through a park by some new would-be attackers, but they are ill-prepared for her physical prowess and instinctive defensive moves. When footage of the attack goes viral, of course, the whole country is watching – including the man who abducted her many years before. And his interest in the one that got away begins to gather pace.

After a grisly murder, a clue – designed to capture Nina’s attention – lands the criminal with a new nickname – The Cipher. But what no one can know is just how busy the Cipher has been in the years since he lost Nina, and how desperate he is to get her back on his table.

There’s a lot to like in this crime-thriller. The characters are well-drawn and evocative. The settings are atmospheric and detailed, and the story is utterly captivating. I went without sleep.

I was shocked by the number of times I found myself jabbing angrily at my Kindle because one of the characters was about to walk straight into danger, but I think that’s testament to how deeply I fell into the story.

The whole thing had a wonderful mix of gritty realism and glossy writing. I really enjoyed it.