Death Most Wicked is the third part of Ms. Albracht’s Devil’s Due Collection. It is, in fact, something of a prequel, outlining the involvement of Detective Mikhael Ruskoff’s involvement in the bizarre serial murders occurring in the Baltimore area. As an introduction to Ruskoff it is an excellent book. The detective emerges as a compassionate human being and a loving family man. In fact sometimes he is so emotional it seems surprising he can function as a homicide detective. But function he does, and when push comes to shove, Ruskoff is there, armed and ready. Focusing primarily on both Ruskoff’s family as well as the grisly serial murders of little girls, Albracht weaves a complex and thrilling tale of horror. The serial killer is a bizarre character who could be developed a bit more, as could the killer’s mother who seems peripheral at best. It would be useful to get inside the head of this predator and get a better feel for what really makes him tick. Albracht drops hints about Ruskoff’s heritage throughout and builds the tension nicely in this respect. It is apparent his mother is concealing some secret and there is no question it is going to be devastating when it is finally revealed. The weakest characters are Bill and Bianca, family friends. This is excusable since the focus in this book is Ruskoff. However with the eventual involvement of the couple in earlier books it would be nice to have them filled out a bit more. The book concludes nicely as an introduction to the earlier books and links the prequel efficiently with the follow ups. Death Most Wicked does well both as a stand-alone story and as a prequel to the other books in The Devil’s Due Collection. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good horror story and a central character with heart.
***I had originally rated this book as a 4 on Amazon and Goodreads due to typos. The author re-edited and re-published the book. I have since amended my rating to a 5 out of 5 stars. It is so refreshing to find an author who accepts criticism with grace and takes the additional step of making changes. I look forward to more books by Ms. Albracht.***