by Ellison Cooper

Caged by Ellison Cooper is the first book in her Special Agent Sayer Altair series (released on July 10, 2018)!  There are two other books in the series: Buried (released July 16, 2019) and Cut to the Bone, which is set to be published on July 14, 2020 by Minotaur Books.

Once I finish reading both of them, you will be able to find my reviews here.

I started this series because I was approved by NetGalley to review the third book, Cut to the Bone, without realizing that it was even part of a series.  Because I’m me, and because I cannot just pick up a book partway through a series, I thought I should start from the very beginning.  Doing this enables me to become more familiar with the characters and their stories (I also avoid any character development spoilers!) before jumping in to the third book.  With this background knowledge, I hope to be able to write some reviews that serve the entire series justice.

I’ll start by saying that I liked this book. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either.  In all honesty, I think I would have enjoyed it far more had I read it a few years ago, before reading as many police procedurals and serial killer thrillers as I have now.  That being said, I think that this could be a great book for readers who are new to the genre and want to get a feel for what it’s like.

This book started off amazing for me and I was sucked in from the very beginning.  The body of a girl is found starved to death and held captive in a cage, in the basement of an abandoned booby-trapped house!? ? Soon after her body is discovered, the FBI realize that she is part of a much larger and extremely twisted serial killer experiment (read the full synopsis below!).

But unfortunately, while it started off great and has a chilling plot, a strong female lead, and a beautiful, eye-catching cover, this book never really delivered the suspense, or the thrill, that I was hoping for.  As I continued to read, it fell into more of a stereotypical (and heavy) police procedural, with very few, but predictable, far-fetched and too-good-to-be-true twists.  Normally I’m not bothered by a predictable plot, but there was just something about this one that felt too predictable.  For readers who are not very familiar with the stereotypical police procedural and serial killer tropes, this book should surprise them.

Overall it was a decent read and I am looking forward to seeing where Cooper takes the rest of the characters in the series.


FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair hunts for evil in the deepest recesses of the human mind. Still reeling from the death of her fiancé, she wants nothing more than to focus on her research into the brains of serial killers. But when the Washington D.C. police stumble upon a gruesome murder scene involving a girl who’d been slowly starved to death while held captive in a cage, Sayer is called in to lead the investigation. When the victim is identified as the daughter of a high profile senator, Sayer is thrust into the spotlight.

As public pressure mounts, she discovers that another girl has been taken and is teetering on the brink of death. With evidence unraveling around her, Sayer races to save the second victim but soon realizes that they are hunting a killer with a dangerous obsession…a killer who is closer than she thought.


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