So sorry for being quiet recently everyone!
Whilst I’m busy still reading a book which will be my next review (after this one), I thought I’d do a throwback review on a series of novels, I read and couldn’t put down.
The Taylor Jackson detective series written by JT Ellison.
The first book in the series and also the featured image for this review is All The Pretty Girls.
1. All the Pretty Girls
The first novel in the series, we’re introduced to Nashville Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson. Daughter to a wealthy family, she chooses the life of a cop.
But life isn’t quiet for Taylor as she is called to the scene of a murder…the body and hands of a woman have been discovered. When another hand is also discovered nearby, DNA proves that this hand doesn’t belong to the murdered victim, but to another victim whose body has been found, just in another state.
This discovery calls the FBI into the equation and along with it, we meet FBI profiler and Taylor Jackson’s lover, Dr John Baldwin.
Across the South, the Southern Strangler is at large, crossing state lines and leaving a trail of women’s lifeless bodies behind with one common feature – they’re missing their hands, yet another woman’s hands are found nearby. And he’s showing no signs of stopping or slowing down.
We also meet Dr Samantha Owens, a medical examiner and Jackson’s best friend. Jackson, Owens and Baldwin are the main characters we meet throughout the series and have a constant presence. I love the characters as well as Baldwin and Jackson’s relationship. The book sets the pace for the first in the series!
10 victims, each have pale skin and black hair, the same red lipstick smeared across their lips. Remind you of anyone? Maybe a certain Disney princess, famed for those same qualities? In the mid 1980’s the Snow White killer terrorised the streets of Nashville, slitting the throats of the above 10 ladies.
Suddenly, the murders ceased, with the police receiving a letter from the killer himself, stating his work was done.
But now, four more bodies have turned up, each fitting the exact description and each exhibiting the exact same signature. The residents of Nashville are terrified, has the famed serial killer returned to finish this bloody fairy tale?
Taylor Jackson thinks not, instead she believes a copycat killer is at work. This one being more dangerous than his predecessor, for with every kill, he his honing his craft.
The past is not to be forgotten.
Not only is this a race against the clock to find the killer when another girl is taken from a bar, but this is also a race for Taylor Jackson…with an upcoming wedding, can she solve the murder before her honeymoon?
This book is very much set upon a time limit and in certain instances it can feel a little rushed. Nevertheless, I still loved this book and keeps you wanting more.
3. Judas Kiss
Okay so the start of this book is more disturbing than most…a trail of tiny bloody footprints and an innocent toddler, playing besides her mothers bludgeoned body. At seven months pregnant, tv presenter Corinne Wolff should be planning an exciting newcomer into the family, instead she was brutally murdered in her own home.
Normally, cameras and the press with their never ending questions never seem to bother Taylor Jackson, but this time, they’re causing her some distress.
When the seemingly model mum in Corinne Wolff is linked to amateur prom with underage actresses and unknowing participants, the sharks start to swim and they’re heading straight for Taylor Jackson.
Not only is Taylor Jackson fighting the press, she’s now fighting her own battle when an old adversary leaks secret footage implicating Taylor in a murder. This accusation threatens everything Taylor holds dear – her career, her reputation and her relationship.
Obsession, vengeance and betrayal are key features of this book with both cases requiring evidence for very different reasons.
4. The Cold Room
Here we meet a serial killer known as The Conductor and he is nothing like Taylor Jackson has ever seen before. He captures his victim and locks them in a glass coffin leaving them to starve to death. Only then will he entertain his desires. He will then show off his victims by posing them in a way that reenacts a famous painting.
However these victims aren’t just localised to Nashville. Nor to just the United States. In fact, these victims are cropping up all over Europe.
Taylor teams up with her ever reliant fiancé and profiler Dr John Baldwin and New Scotland Yard detective James “Memphis” Highsmythe, a haunted man who only has eyes for Taylor Jackson, causing more trouble when no more is required.
Is this just one international killer? Or is this a collection of artists, duelling to create the best masterpiece? We wait to find out.
Another 5 star book!
5. The Immortals
It is Samhain. The Blood Harvest. Halloween. The night where anything can happen right? The unbelievable becomes believable and your greatest nightmares come true.
8 Nashville teenagers have been found, occult symbols carved into their naked bodies. Death himself has blessed these killings…or at least that’s what the killers themselves believe.
With children involved, an already tense atmosphere becomes even more so with the atmosphere intensifying to a dangerous combination of outrage and terrified. After being reinstated, Taylor Jackson knows she has act quickly but carefully.
For Taylor Jackson and her team has to delve into the mystical world of cults and witchcraft and learn just how far her killer can push his limits.
We also delve into an old case with Baldwin, the case that sent him to Nashville – after the deaths of his team and his affair with Charlotte.
This is one of the more intense novels in the series which is to be expected where children are involved!
6. So Close The Hand of Death
Talent borrows. Genius steals. Evil delegates. An echo of a violent past. All across America, murders are being committed with the twisted hallmarks of the well known Boston Strangled, the Zodiac Killer and the Son of Sam. A media frenzy explodes.
The Pretender is back, and Taylor Jackson knows it. But this time, he has help. With the police and the FBI being stretched dangerously thin, Taylor Jackson knows what she must do and prepare for the showdown with Pretender.
This is something she must do alone. To be close to Taylor means to be in danger and she won’t risk losing anyone she loves. But with the isolation, the self doubts and that rising body count, there’s only so much one person can take and the psychopath who adores yet despises her is close enough to touch.
This is the fastest paced book in the series, hooking you from the beginning. Suspenseful, violent yet romantic this book has it all and this has to be my favourite book of the series.
7. Where All The Dead Lie
A bullet taken in her showdown with the Pretender severed the connection of speech and thoughts…Taylor Jackson is effectively mute and there’s no telling if or even when her voice will come back. Trapped in her silence, she is surrounded by ghosts of her past.
When Memphis Highsmythe makes an offer to her to come to his home in the Scottish Highlands, it’s an offer she can’t refuse and Baldwin can’t bring himself to refuse his fiancés excitement, not matter how much he distrusts Memphis.
At first, the castle seems the perfect getaway to help her recovery. But soon enough, the house starts to feel more menacing than romantic and peaceful. As Taylor’s sense of isolation and vulnerability grow, so does her grip on reality. Someone and something is coming after Taylor. But what’s haunting her? The living? Or the dead?
This is my least favourite novel but still an awesome read. For me it seemed anticlimactic to a series that had me hooked from the beginning yet actually it was also perfect in that way. We see Taylor for who she is, take away everything and we meet the everyday human not the brave cop. We see her relationship with Baldwin in a way we haven’t seen before.
8. Field of Graves
And that leads us onto our last book of the Taylor Jackson series…Field of Graves.
Essentially this is a prequel as JT Ellison takes us back to where it all began. A serial killer is on the loose, putting the whole of Nashville on edge. A madman is trying to create his own end of the world apocalypse and the cops trying to catch him are almost just as damaged as he is.
We see Taylor Jackson and John Baldwin meet for the first time, and alongside medical examiner Samantha Owens, they race against the clock and their own demons before the killer claims another victim.
I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed this mammoth throwback review of the Taylor Jackson series.
But don’t worry, if you love Samantha Owens then great because she has an entire series dedicated to her as well! A Deeper Darkness, the first in the series will be an upcoming review of mine so stay tuned for that.
I hope you enjoy the series as much as I did! Comment below your thoughts.
Thinking of buying the series? Follow the links below to purchase the books from Amazon.