Sandman is a brilliantly twisted psychological thriller

Katia, an EMT in the small, close-knit community where she lives, is one of the first on the scene when a hurricane rips through their area. As she and the rest of the team search for survivors of the hurricane, they stumble upon the body of someone buried in the dunes, someone who couldn’t possibly have been killed by the hurricane. The police search the area and uncover more bodies, and a shocking truth becomes apparent: there’s a serial killer at large.

When one of the victims is identified as someone Katia knew and loved, she’s determined to do all she can to help find who killed them. Her on-and-off lover, Zahra, is with the local police, and along with her and Paige, who is a K-9 search expert, Katia tries to piece together what has happened, and how it could have done so right under their noses. The trouble with small towns, though, is the secrets they hold tight to their chests, secrets that can have a long-lasting impact on the lives of the people who live there…

This book is brilliant. There is no other word for it. If you like twisted thrillers with a hint of lesbian romance, then this is a must-read. The story sucks you in right from the get-go—chapter 1 starts with the discovery of the first body in the dunes, and the pace doesn’t let up from there on to the end. The way the author weaves the story is masterly. There are so many twists and turns, characters you suspect and then you’re not sure, or people you think you should trust and then it turns out you’re wrong—exactly what I want from a good thriller!

The story is told mostly from Katia’s point of view, but what’s also very clever from the author is that we hear from many of the secondary characters—including the creepy killer! Those scenes really are chilling, and I was so impressed at how well the author pulled that off.

Katia is a great character, a woman totally committed to her job, her community, and to caring for her autistic brother. Her on-off connection with Zahra is beautifully played out, but I also appreciated the fact that this romantic element didn’t detract at all from the thriller itself, and in fact was a subtle, soft counterpoint to the nastiness of the killer and their schemes.

The author has a wonderful writing style, with excellent dialogue and descriptions of scenes and people without being overly wordy. The connection that builds between Katia, Zahra, and Paige is fantastic, and I found it totally believable that the events they faced would pull them tighter together in their quest to get to the bottom of the mystery.

All in all, this is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in ages, either in mainstream or lesbian fiction. I highly recommend!