Alex Kava’s Before Evil Chronicles Maggie O’Dell’s Early Days as a FBI Special Agent

Before Evil - Alex Kava

Before Evil by Alex Kava (Maggie O’Dell Book 0.5 )

Several days ago I finished Before Evil the latest release from one of my favorite mystery writers Alex Kava. Before Evil is book 0.5 as it is a prequel to A Prefect Evil which is Book 1 in Kava’s Maggie O’Dell series. A Perfect  Evil was the first Alex Kava book I read. I loved it and I’ve read almost every book since.

About Maggie O’Dell

Maggie O’Dell is a profiler with the FBI and over the course of the eleven books that comprise the series Maggie has faced some pretty big challenges. She’s confronted bombers at the Mall of America, (Black Friday) flown into a Category 5 hurricane (Damaged) and even been exposed to the Ebola virus (Exposed).

My two favourite Kava books are the aforementioned A Perfect Evil and book #2 in the series Split Second. Both of those books feature Albert Stucky. Stucky is a sadistic madman who enjoys twisted games as much as killing.

Before Evil introduces the reader to Albert and all his madness.In addition to introducing Stucky, the book also provides a glimpse of the beginning of her FBI career under the direction of Kyle Cunningham. As well as, her first encounters with Dr Gwen Patterson. Gwen will go on to become her closest friend. It also provides background on The dissolving of Maggie marriage. And Maggie relationship with her mother. Finally it addresses the impact of the loss of her father on her life.

Alex Kava on writing Before Evil

In an author’s note at the beginning of Before Evil Kava writes the following:

”many of you readers have asked for a prequel to this series for a long time now. My early career was driven – and made- by what my readers wanted. But it’s taken me some time to write this for two reasons.

First I needed to get to know Maggie well enough before I could even tell you about her early life experiences that helped shapes who she is today. I needed to be able to answer some questions. What happened to bring her and Dr Gwen Patterson to be close friends? What about her marriage? When did her nightmares begin? Why does she look up to Director Cunningham?

The second obstacle for me was that I never understood why anyone would want to revisit Albert Stucky. Let alone read about his early cat and mouse game with Maggie. after all, if you read the first two books you already know how that first chase ended. it’s documented in A perfect Evil and in Split Second.

Or is it?

Maybe, just maybe Maggie never did share all the details.

so let!the chase begin!

About Before Evil

And it is a wild chase! The chase begins with Maggie first field crime scene visit. The site is a double-wide trailer. The victims of a grisly murder are a husband and wife inside the trailer.and the victims brother who is shot trying to escape. The sole survivor of the attack is a little girl hiding in a room below the trailer.

Albert Stucky was not the killer, but he knows who was as he witnesses the killer leave the site. He also visits the crime scene and leaves a momento from one of his killings to top the dessert found in the trailer. When Stucky sees Maggie at the site  he becomes infatuated by the beautiful FBI special agent and the  cat and mouse game begins!

The question becomes can Stucky lure Maggie to her death or can Maggie stop him before he kills again?

Bottom Line

Before Evil is another fine addition to the Maggie O’Dell series. It is a good story about the hunt for a vicious killer of thre people and about the hunt for an even more sadistic, manipulative serial killer.

Before Evil the reader a glimpse of Maggie’s life before the events that occurred in A Perfect Evil.  However,  I don’t know at what point in the series this book should be read. Maybe it like the chicken and the egg. Maybe it should be read first.  But then again maybe the reader, like Alex Kava, needs  to know more about Maggie before reading Before Evil.

Either way it’s a four star out of five book for me. So check it out!

Links for the Further Exploration of the Books of Alex Kava