Lt. John Driscoll's wife has finally passed away after six years in a coma. He doesn't really get a chance to grieve, as tourists are turning up dead at popular tourist destinations, their bodies posed, and they have been scalped. The mayor himself wants Driscoll to catch this killer.
Enquiries eventually lead Driscoll and his team to learn that there are actually two killers - male and female identical twins. It's rare but apparently is does happen. The pair have horrible sexual abuse in their past, which provides the team with motive, but also acts as a trigger for team member Margaret Aligante's own sexual abuse history.
When one of the victims turns out to be the daughter of pharmaceutical giant Malcolm Shewster, Driscoll has another headache on his hands. Malcolm is inserting himself into the investigation and obstructing justice in his effort to both avenge his daughter's death and hide some secrets of his own.
All of this sounds a lot more interesting than it really is, as The Screaming Room was a real chore for me to get through. For the first 100 pages or so, it amounted to little more than characters who have no bearing on the plot discovering dead bodies. I've said in the past this is a pet hate of mine, so it drove me absolutely nuts that the first third was taken up by this trope. There is a lack of suspense in knowing from the get-go who the killers are, and the Malcolm Shewster subplot just gets in the way, sapping energy from the serial killer storyline.
Short chapters allow little time to get into the characters' heads. There are interminable chapters as detectives follow false leads. One in particular that took place at a circus had me ready to throw the book across the room. It just went on and on and on.
Later, we spend an inordinate amount of time with the detectives as the chase after some female witness who sold one of the killer's a laptop. Malcolm is also chasing after her, as he has offered a reward to anybody who can provide information to find his daughter's killer. It was a bizarre combination of the ludicrous and utter monotony. What the hell was the freaking point of it all?
This book drove me nuts. Because I have to finish anything I start, I really started to resent this book for the time it was taking away from me being able to read other books.
The back of the book has an excerpt for a follow up called "No One Will Hear You". A look at Amazon and Goodreads shows that it never actually made it into print. Judging by how awful The Screaming Room was, it doesn't come as much of a surprise.