The Cutting: A McCabe and Savage Thriller (McCabe and Savage Thrillers)
By James Hayman
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Published: June 3, 2014
The first novel in the nationally bestselling McCabe and Savage series—perfect for fans of John Sandford and CJ Box.
Someone is stealing the hearts of beautiful women...
Detective Mike McCabe moved from a top homicide job with the NYPD to Portland, Maine to leave his failed marriage and suspicions of wrongdoing behind, and to find a more peaceful life for himself and his 13 year old daughter.
But the small New England city is not nearly as safe as he thought.
On a warm September night, a missing high-school athlete is found dead in a scrap metal yard, her heart removed from her body with surgical precision. As outrage over the killing spreads, a young business woman disappears while out on a morning jog.
McCabe is certain both crimes are the work of one man—a murderer skilled in cardiac surgery who is using his scalpel to target young women. With the clock ticking, McCabe
Detective Michael McCabe is called in on a grisly homicide where the young victim's
heart was removed with surgical precision. It's discovered that when the heart was removed, the young woman was still alive, and not anesthetized. The Cutting follows the gruesome serial killing of athletic young women who have been murdered by having their hearts removed while they are alive and conscious. It's Detective McCabe and his partner Maggie Savage's job to find the killer before the latest missing woman Lucinda Cassidy wind up as his next victim.
With the heart being removed with such skill and evidence of the use of specialized equipment required for this type of surgery, McCabe and Savage look for a heart surgeon who could possibly be the murderer. Their clues take them from Florida to New York and even to Europe.
As in many serial killer cases, the fascination with killing begins in childhood. This killer loves the feeling of power that comes with kidnapping and controlling the life of his victim for the time he controls her before he kills her.. This is evidenced in the total control he has over her, keeping her in total darkness, guiding her hand to the bucket to relieve herself, and to the toilet paper, his use of her at his pleasure and so on. He didn't really need to take his victim as many days in advance of his killing of her. That week or so before his murder of the victim was partly for his own pleasure.
We can see that he has no real fear of being caught as he even introduces himself to his victims, albeit with an alias, and then jokes about his name. He allows his victim to get a clear view of his face because he "knows" he will not be caught.
The Cutting was extremely suspenseful. Though there were scenes where we were with the killer and followed his movements, we really did not know who he was. We had a clear sense of the evil in him. I loved how the plot and the evidence led us to thinking one individual was involved in a particular way, only to discover that wasn't the way it was at all. In fact, many of the things that we were led to believe were mere twists in the plot.
The Cutting was cleverly written and made you feel as though you were right beside Detectives McCabe and Savage. I know I wanted to kick McCabe once or twice for his impulsiveness and stubbornness at wanting to go off after the killer without backup. Not only was it against protocol but it nearly got him killed.
The profanity and the sexually graphic content of The Cutting makes this book a definite adult-only novel. I don't think the addition of the profanity or sexual content really added anything to the novel. I think the novel would have been just as compelling and suspenseful without it.
I liked that we got to know a bit about McCabe's daughter Casey and her situation with her mother. It gave us an insight into another aspect of McCabe's personality. His concern over whether or not "Casey wouldn't be better off living a life where she wouldn't have to wonder whether her father's gonna come home dead or alive" shows us that he is concerned about how his job affects his daughter.
The Cutting was a tremendously satisfying mystery/suspense read. I'd love to give it 4 and 1/2 stars, but due to the (in my opinion) unnecessary profanity and sexual content, I gave it 4 stars out of 5.
Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.
About the Author:
Like McCabe, I’m a native New Yorker. He was born in the Bronx. I was born in Brooklyn. We both grew up in the city. He dropped out of NYU Film School and joined the NYPD, rising through the ranks to become the top homicide cop at the Midtown North Precinct. I graduated from Brown and joined a major New York ad agency, rising through the ranks to become creative director on accounts like the US Army, Procter & Gamble, and Lincoln/Mercury.
We both married beautiful brunettes. McCabe’s wife, Sandy dumped him to marry a rich investment banker who had “no interest in raising other people’s children.” My wife, Jeanne, though often given good reason to leave me in the lurch, has stuck it out through thick and thin and is still my wife. She is also my best friend, my most attentive reader and a perceptive critic.
Both McCabe and I eventually left New York for Portland, Maine. I arrived in August 2001, shortly before the 9/11 attacks, in search of the right place to begin a new career as a fiction writer. He came to town a year later, to escape a dark secret in his past and to find a safe place to raise his teenage daughter, Casey.
There are other similarities between us. We both love good Scotch whiskey, old movie trivia and the New York Giants. And we both live with and love women who are talented artists.
There are also quite a few differences. McCabe’s a lot braver than me. He’s a better shot. He likes boxing. He doesn’t throw up at autopsies. And he’s far more likely to take risks. McCabe’s favorite Portland bar, Tallulah’s, is, sadly, a figment of my imagination. My favorite Portland bars are all very real.