Snakes and Ladders

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

You can't outsmart a psychopath!
Now the moral of the story might just be 'walk away' but for Ziba our profiler she's into far deeper than she'd like and shitte's about to hit the fan.
You see the killer will only talk to her because she's the one who put him away while waiting extradiction.
Sange is one strange dude and while he's whispering things to her another PRK killer (Pink Rose Killer) is on the kill.
It's surely death if you forfeit so this cat and mouse game goes on for quite some time but is she being played like a master puppeteer?
It's been said this type of toxicity involves a Jekyll and Hyde persona and the ability to not let everything rub you the wrong way as it's that emotion that these evil individuals seek. That reaction , that anger, that emotion fuels them like a 'source of supply' fuels them.
It's a merry go round of a hamster wheel agenda yet it's a job that is rewarding on all fronts if you can bring in the killer.
Now the Butcher is on scene so I'm going to exit out but this one is sure to capture the heart and mind beautifully.
A perfect flow of juicy police procedure with elements of danger lurking in every corner paced evenly.
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I really enjoyed this book so much.  It has a really great plot, superb main characters and I read it in one sitting.  I would highly recommend this book.
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Thank you Netgalley for providing this book in exchange for a honest review.

I am reviewing from a standpoint of a reader who never read this series. 

I was impressed for many reasons: 

1. I could tell that the plot has continued from the previous books. The book ends indicating the same to come. 

2. I love how the author expresses each character.  Everyone has their own uniqueness that drew me in. 

3. The suspense could be felt from beginning to end of the book! 

4. The title and cover picture correlates to the plot. I find that alot of mystery thriller books dont always have the appropriate title.
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This is the third book in the Ziba MacKenzie series but can easily read as a standalone. I have read books one and two and I have to say that this story didn't grip me quite as much as the first two, for some reason.

Ziba is one kick-ass lady and I love that about her. I like the little things she keeps in her head about Fingerling, even when he is obviously being an idiot. I feel bad about the "will they, won't they" relationship with Wolfie - although I guess I understand the reason for it. It was a little frustrating though!

Vernon Sange is quite the opponent to come up against but there are others who are also playing with Ziba's mind. Some of them are closer than you think....

For some reason, the plot wasn't as tight as the other books, and the ending was unsatisfactory. Judging from that ending, there is another book coming our way (hopefully soon!) because I really want to know what happens next. 

This was a good book, just not of the very high standard of the first two.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer.
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Wow another edge of the seat book, teeth clenched a lot!!! Ziba is back trying to help the police profile a serial killer, she's getting help from a serial killer she helped put behind bars, he's messing with her head and playing games, Jack is also tangled up and her feelings for him are making things worse. 
Ziba as always helps track down the killer but we are still left with a total cliffhanger!!! 
Can't wait for the next book!!!
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Victoria Selman’s Snakes and Ladders is a book that should come with a warning: do not read this in an empty house or if you are easily scared, because the third Ziba MacKenzie novel is so terrifying that it will have you jumping out of your skin.

The streets of London are being terrorised by a serial killer intent on maximum destruction who stalks his prey, removes a body part from each victim and then leaves in its place a single pink rose. This cruel act of vengeance has got everybody on edge and absolutely petrified that they might be next. Everyone is watching their every move and not trusting anybody because one wrong move is all that it takes for the killer to strike and destroy everything. With the police desperate to find this vindictive serial killer, the only lead they have is Dr Vernon Sange, a multiple murderer awaiting extradition who seems to know the killer’s identity. Vernon will only reveal what he knows to the one woman responsible for putting him away: profiler Ziba Mackenzie.

Ziba finds herself caught up in a dangerous game with a serial killer who will reveal the identity of the murderer who is killing all these people – but he wants something from her in return. With one killer whispering in her ear and another running rings around the police, Ziba finds herself up against an opponent who has torn up the rule book and has her dancing to a tune which only he can hear. Ziba needs to tread carefully and keep her wits about her because if she puts one foot wrong, she might just end up being a deranged killer’s next victim.

Silent Witness meets Hannibal Lecter in Victoria Selman’s third novel featuring profiler Ziba McKenzie. Snakes and Ladders is a book that is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Full of menace, danger and suspense, this sinister thriller will chill readers to the bone and keep readers from sleeping as they will be completely and utterly petrified while reading this book.

Terrifying, engrossing and impossible to put down, Snakes and Ladders is a must-read for fans who like their thrillers dark, gritty and creepy.
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Clear the floor, Victoria Selman is here. That was the first thought that came to me when I read the first few chapters of this book. The control that the author had on the words in this book was exemplary. 

Murders of women were happening in town and the cops needed teh freelancing profilrler Ziba to catch this murderer. This was book 3 in the series. I felt the characters would have been better understood if I had read the first 2 books. Nevertheless, this story too intrigued. Ziba was the one who had put a Dr. Vernon Sange in prison for murder. He was back trying to bargain with her. He would provide the name of the present murderer for certain personal details of her life. The cat and mouse games began. 

I loved the premise. Ziba was a terrific main character strong yet with hints of vulnerability. My niggles came in the midsection where I felt the plot meandered. Ziba's entry into the mind of the killer could have been better. This book needed graphic description of the murders to bring out the darkness of the letters left by the killer. It just fell shy. Which can be both good and bad depending on the reader. 

But make no mistake, the story was pure fun. The games both the  characters played had me egging them on. The clues had the right amount of intrigue. A good villain allows the hero to reach his heights. I liked how the path to the murders were shown to me. Ending too felt a tad contrived. 

Overall, a fun book. I did find the writing addictive and Ziba intriguing.
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Oh my goodness this was good. The book grabs you tightly and you can’t help but keep reading to find out what happens next there are so many surprises and it all goes together so intricately.
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Snakes and Ladders is the third in the police procedural series featuring former Special Forces Agent turned Offender Profiler, Ziba MacKenzie. Having missed the first book in the series - Blood for Blood - I did get to read the second one - Nothing To Lose - so I was happy to jump straight in and read this. The author, Victoria Selman provides enough background to allow the reader to feel comfortable with the characters and setting without any issues, making Snakes and Ladders a good choice to read as an individual story. Set in London, protagonist Ziba makes a rather flawed, impulsive and abrasive Profiler however, I would have gladly had her on my team.

Ziba is giving a talk to FBI trainees in Quantico, Virginia when the talk is abruptly interrupted. Ziba's presence is required in the UK where police need her help to find the so called 'Pink Rose Killer', who has been killing and mutilating young women. She is disturbed to learn that the reason for her recall is that one Dr Vernon Sange, a man she helped to put behind bars for the murder of at least a dozen people, claims to know the identity of the killer, and will speak only to her. Thus begins a tense game of cat and mouse and Ziba knows that in order to get the information she needs, she will have to succumb to his mind games.

This novel was a fantastic, electrifying and solid police procedural and as before, I really warmed to Ziba from the outset. Without doubt, she is a very strong lead and this well-balanced crime-thriller had me glued to the pages, so much so that I didn't want to put it down, desperate as I was to know the outcome of the story.

The plot was very cleverly written, and the story was gripping and suspenseful. With distinct threads running through the story, I could have been overwhelmed by the number of characters in the book, but each individual had a defined role in the story. As Ziba embarked on an exciting and exhilarating mission to solve the cases, the tension was being ratcheted up a notch as Victoria Selman hit me with some captivating misdirection and planted a few red herrings. The writing flowed effortlessly with a swift pace to it as Snakes and Ladders delved into the power of evil, heavily dosed with gruesomeness, menace, cunning and brutality.

Overall, a brilliant, dark, psychological, nail-chomping and highly recommended crime-thriller, complete with a dash of humour.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my request, from Amazon Publishing UK via NetGalley and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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With thanks to Netgalley and Amazon for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review.

Snakes and Ladders is the third book featuring ex special forces turned profiler Ziba Mckenzie.   

Ziba was giving a series of lectures at the FBI Academy in Quantico.  During the lecture DC Barnwell  from Scotland Yard interrupted the talk to bring her back to London.

Serial killer and Oxford Don Dr Vernon Sange was due to be extradited back to the US for execution.  However he wanted to talk to Ziba because he knew the identity of The Pink Rose Killer (PRK). 

 Barnwell also explained  that her dead husband's friend Jack Wolfe and a random PC had been sent letters by the PRK. 

During the prison visit Sange played mind games with Ziba and got her to admit her true feelings for Jack.  He then explained the brutal injury the next PRK victim will suffer.  Despite her training Ziba becomes affected by Branwell`s games, can she help catch the killer before he strikes again.

I knew I would be in for a treat from the first page.  The story was fast paced with short snappy pages which lured me into reading just one more chapter.  I thought Ziba was an interesting character, intelligent but tough enough to join the special forces.  I enjoyed reading about Ziba`s difficult relationship with her mother, I hope after their heart to heart they might reconcile.

Dr Vernon Sange chilled me to the bone.  Attractive and charming on the surface until you are alone with him.

By the end of the book I was left reeling  after one twist in the tale, swiftly by another.

Victoria Selman is now one of my go to authors, I can't wait for book four.
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As soon as I read the first line of the blurb on Netgalley I was sold. I mean: Psycho meets The Silence Of The Lambs... How on earth would I be able to resist that?! Add the promise of a serial killer and profiler angle, and I just HAD to add it to my shelves. I confess I wasn't aware that Snakes And Ladders was actually the third book of a series when I requested a copy, but thankfully it turns out that this story works really well as a stand-alone as well. A fair warning though: it is most likely that you will end up adding the first two books to your wishlist anyway afterwards, as you will be left wanting for more!

So, Snakes And Ladders. Of course, thanks to my mistake, I didn't have the background of the main characters and past cases when I started reading, but despite this lack of knowledge I was able to dive straight in anyway. I'm not lying when I say that I was hooked after only a couple of pages! This is one of those thrillers that will draw you right in and won't let you go until the very end. Snakes And Ladders has it all: intriguing main characters, not one but TWO disturbing serial killers, a fascinating case, a profiler angle, lots of suspense and plot twists, solid writing and plot development... Oh yes, there is a lot to love in this third book and it was definitely a huge success for me.

Ziba MacKenzie is without doubt a very strong lead and one of the reasons this story worked so well for me. Even though I missed some of her background information, I was still able to warm up to her almost instantly and I'm definitely a fan. I love how she is a profiler and gives us a slightly different angle on the typical murder investigation in detective thrillers. The profiling and psychological aspect in Snakes And Ladders is without doubt fascinating and definitely gives this story its unique touch! Likewise, I loved the fact that we had not one, but TWO serial killer characters involved. Vernon Sange is of course behind bars, but not less dangerous and he makes a fantastic villain. The Pink Rose Killer on the other hand is of course the main focus of this story, identity unknown and his case active. The flashback chapters give us some insight in his past and how he became the person he is today... But is he in contact with Vernon Sange? Why does he kill? And who is he? You will find yourself going round and round as cleverly designed plot twists keep misleading you.

Vernon Sange's angle gave the plot more dept and added a whole different layer of danger both for Ziba and those close to her. It also gave us not one, but TWO riddles to unravel: who is the PRK and what is Vernon up to? Both riddles made me keep turning those pages and I managed to finish Snakes And Ladders in record time. And that ending! My eyes couldn't believe what they had just read; while I saw some twists and reveals coming, that cliffhanger ending definitely was a true shocker. I'll be waiting impatiently for book four to discover what will happen next, but not before I catch up with the first two books of course! Fans of darker, complex and twisted serial killer thrillers who love a profiler and psychological angle will have a great time with Snakes And Ladders.
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Ziba MacKenzie and Vernon Sange do a dance against one another in this third of a series featuring a tough female protagonist. Don't worry though- you'll be fine with this as a standalone, especially since a good chunk of Ziba's backstory is revealed here.  She's an offender profiler and the person responsible for identifying Sange, who is now in a high security prison. How, then, does he have info on murders happening now?  Ziba is brought in = again- because she's the only person he will talk to. What a nasty person he is (well, he is a serial killer after all).  Because of his background, this has some interesting info on Ancient Rome and Greece.  Ziba's also struggling a bit with the fact that she's attracted to a man for the first time since the death of her husband.  No spoilers but note that this is told in alternating voices.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Fans of the serial killer genre will enjoy this.
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Book Review: Snakes and Ladders (Ziba MacKenzie #3) by Victoria Selman
(Published by Amazon Publishing UK and Thomas & Mercer)

4.5 Stars

"...I'd been losing, slipping down a snake every time I thought I was about to climb up a ladder. I was done trying to roll a six. The time had come to change the rules, turn the serpent on the people I needed to beat..."
- Ziba Mac

Ex-British Reconnaissance Regiment Special Forces operator, Zibakam "Ziba" MacKenzie, engaged as a freelance profiler for Scotland Yard, finds herself busy across the pond at the apogee of criminal profiling, giving lectures at the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) training center in Quantico, Virginia.

The stint is short-lived as she's urgently summoned back to London. 

Ziba specializes in serial killer crimes. In Book 1 she dealt with the "London Lacerator"; in Book 2, "The Primrose Hills Killer" or "Hillside Slasher", both referenced in this installment.

Still reeling from the soul-shattering loss of her husband, Duncan, and uncertainties in her future, this time she's saddled with a case of multiple murders and harvested body parts stitched for gruesome projects by the cunning, sadistic "PRK Killer", and his/her all too apparent puppeteer, American Dr. Vernon Sanger, killer of twelve and awaiting extradition back to the states, whose singular obsession in jail is to have a quid-pro-quo discussion with the person responsible for putting him away, none other than MacKenzie herself.

In Book 2 "Nothing to Lose", the author showcased the depth of her research in actual serial killer cases, suspect interrogation techniques and Special Forces tactics, while focused on the protagonist's as well as victims' multiculturalism.

In "Snakes and Ladders", she flourishes in her mastery of prose and expounds on the complex upbringing of the protagonist contributing to her psychological state of mind.

"But there's nothing natural about Emmeline (Ziba's mother). Even as a child she insisted on me calling her by her first name. 'I'm a person on my own right,' she used to say. 'I refuse to be defined by biology'."

We also see MacKenzie's struggle as a profiler seeking due respect and recognition of her field within Scotland Yard, even as she risks her life in the frontlines and as she battles with grief and anxieties in her own life.

"The Academy gave birth to behavioral science. No one values profiling like the FBI. All too often at Scotland Yard, I have to justify what I do. At Quantico, no one questions the merits..."

"Hocus-pocus, he'd called profiling when we'd first met. Nothing more than a fancy word for conjecture, he'd said."

Definitely several classes above the typical detective crime thriller - and it's all I can do to wait for the next book in this outstanding series!

Review based on an Advance Reading Copy from Amazon Publishing UK and Thomas & Mercer through NetGalley.
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Another brilliant book in this series. I was glued to both the book and my seat the whole way through it. I was open mouthed in a few places. Brilliantly written and full of suspense and wonderful characters. I hope there is more to come soon.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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Sometimes you’re lucky enough to come across a book that feels as if it was written just for you. That’s how I felt as I devoured Snakes and Ladders, the third book in the Ziba MacKenzie series by Victoria Selman. Ziba faces two killers, each unnervingly dark and nefarious in highly unique ways which will evoke feelings of Hannibal Lecter. It’s great how Victoria doesn’t shy away from explaining the behavioural science as Ziba works to unravel the mystery, adding another dimension to the story but it never feels like your being given a lesson. I love reading stories with strong female characters and Ziba is one I have enjoyed getting to know in the first two books. She’s intelligent, head strong, determined and flawed which makes her one of my favourites. Sange was a brilliantly written villain and I was constantly changing my opinion on who the PRK was. Usually I’m good at figuring out who the unsub was but not this time. Ziba’s evolving relationship with Wolf is handled delicately and Nigel Fingerling always adds his unique charms to proceedings. I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait for the 4th!
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Another great book by Victoria. The storyline is fast paced and it keeps you guessing throughout, I guessed the PRK’s identity several times... none were correct! Brilliant! Looking forward to meeting Ziba again, soon I hope!
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Ziba McKenzie is recalled from Quantico to assist with a case in London.  Young vulnerable women are being killed and the killer is taking a souvenir from their bodies.  Vernon Sange, a convicted killer incarcerated in Wakefield prison claims to have information about he killer but will only speak to Ziba. Can Ziba get him to talk without letting him into her head and can she keep those cares about safe.

Fantastic read from start to finish - love this series.

Thanks to Netgalley, Thomas & Mercer and Victoria Selman for the ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
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This is a great psychological thriller that has a hint of Silence of the lambs running through it. 
Ziba Mackenzie is a profiler who is asked to help with a murder case in the UK. 
She’s contacted to help as they need to speak to Sange who is in prison, but he will only speak to her. 
She was responsible for his capture and now as another killer is on the loose, he claims to know his identity. 
Ziba goes to see him and doesn’t get a great deal from him, other than something else to worry about. 
The PRK (Pink Rose Killer) is removing body parts from his victim and leaving behind a rose petal in its place but Ziba and the Police need to know why. 
This is the third book in this series and I haven’t read the previous two and didn’t feel I was missing anything. 
I’d you like creepy thrillers then this is the book for you. 
Thanks to Amazon Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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This was a  good  book  because it was  interesting.  The  characters are decently developed.  I can't wait to find out what happens in the next book.
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I hadn't read the other books in the series but I decided to read Snakes and Ladders to get a feel for the main character.  Ziba MacKenzie is a profiler who has dealt with the worst of criminals.  Unfortunately for her, one of the people who she helped put in prison wants to talk to her about a current case.  Despite her misgivings about dealing with Vernon Sange she agrees to talk with him.  She doesn't get much relevant information but gets the sense that Sange still has plans to make her life miserable in the future.  The path of the case twists and turns, eventually leading to an unlikely culprit.  The end of the book leaves the door open for book 4.  I enjoyed the book and plan on going back to read books 1 and 2.
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