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Snakes and Ladders

(Ziba MacKenzie #3)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  881 ratings  ·  128 reviews

Psycho meets The Silence of the Lambs

One killer on the loose. Another setting the rules. A profiler caught in the middle.

A serial killer is terrorising London, removing a body part from each victim and leaving in its place a single pink rose.

Dr Vernon Sange, a multiple murderer awaiting extradition, seems to know the culprit’s identity—but he’ll only talk to profil

Kindle Edition, 382 pages
Published November 21st 2019 by Thomas & Mercer
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  881 ratings  ·  128 reviews

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Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in the Ziba MacKenzie series. Ziba is a profiler with a special forces background, she carries a lot of sadness with her as her husband was killed a few years before the events in this story. This novel has an intriguing start. Ziba is lecturing at the FBI in Quantico whilst in London a murderer labelled the Pink Rose Killer (PRK) is stalking London for victims. Pulling the strings like a master puppeteer is Dr Vernon Sange, a cold blooded serial killer of at least 12 peop ...more
I absolutely love and adore this series by Victoria Selman. Snakes and Ladders is the third book revolving around Ziba MacKenzie, former special ops now a profiler for the Met. She's also known as the Serial Killer Hunter because finding serial killers is what she does best - primarily because she is fearless.  One such killer is now terrorizing London, cutting off body  parts and leaving a rose in their place. It appears to be a copy-cat killing or perhaps someone killing on behalf of the origi ...more
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: December 13th 2019

"Caring makes you human. It's the one thing that differentiates us from the monsters we hunt."

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

(view spoiler)
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thank you to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of Snakes and Ladders.

I didn't know this was the third book in the series yet held up as a standalone.

I love serial killer mysteries, more so if the protagonist is female so I was excited when my request was approved.

Ziba Mackenzie is a highly respected profiler responsible for catching the notoriously charming serial killer Dr. Vernon Sange.

When a series of ritualistic murders brings Ziba into the investigation, she is tasked to speak to Dr. Sange, wh
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
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I find Victoria's books quite addictive. They are menacingly simple stories with lots of interesting twists and turns throughout the books.
I can't decide if I like her as a character or not. I do feel that she needs to have someone in her life, but on the other hand, does she? She's furriatingly brilliant and portrayed well.

Definitely looking forward to reading the next one. I don't feel satisfied with the outcome and find that I am wanting more.
Kelly Van Damme
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Hi and welcome to my review of Snakes and Ladders! This is the third novel in the Ziba MacKenzie series, but I assure you it can be read as a standalone and I know that because I did. For reasons I can’t even begin to understand, I completely missed the first two books and to add insult to injury, I hadn’t even heard of Victoria Selman (gasp!). Then Snakes and Ladders started popping up all over my Twitter timeline and I stumbled across it on NetGalley. When I spotted that tagline (Psycho meets ...more
Donna Hines
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
When I read the tagline "Psycho meets Silence of the Lambs" I knew I just HAD to read this book! And wow...what can I say? It simply is...WOW!

SNAKES AND LADDERS is the third in the Ziba MacKenzie series, although I didn't know it at the time, but it reads well as a standalone. It was THAT good. There is enough background given throughout to ensure you don't miss out on anything. But be warned...once you start, you won't be able to stop and from there on in you then have a burning desire to g
Julie Lacey
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
I do love a good serial killer book, and Snakes and Ladders fits the bill. It’s the third in Victoria Selman’s Ziba MacKenzie series, following on from Blood for Blood (nominated for the 2017 Crime Writer’s Award Debut Dagger) and Nothing to Lose, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Ziba MacKenzie is an ace profiler with the FBI, called back to London to deal with imprisoned serial killer Dr Vernon Sange, who says he knows the identity of the PRK, a new murderer on the loose. Shades of Silenc
Vanessa Wild
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The third in the Ziba Mackenzie thriller series. I haven’t read the first two books but it can be read as a stand alone, although the ending is left on something of a cliffhanger. A serial killer known as the PRK (Pink Rose Killer) is having a killing spree in London. Meanwhile another notorious mass murderer incarcerated in HM Wakefield Prison seems to know the killer’s real identity and is predicting what they’re going to do next.

I read this story via the Pigeonhole app where the book is split
The Coycaterpillar Reads
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow…Snakes and Ladders was the dog’s testicles for sure! Billed as psycho meets Silence of the lambs, never was I going to refuse a match up like that! Although this book is one that you should go completely blind into. It was very Silence of the lambs, but it far exceeded my expectations. Do you want a book that will give you blunt force trauma by its sheer brilliant narrative and its impending threat that just constantly lurks around every corner. If you only read one crime series this year, m ...more
Sue Jenkins
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this through Pigeonhole and it was interesting to read along with others and see what their theories were. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the final twist at the end. It did have shades of Silence of the Lambs and Psycho and the characters were strongly portrayed. The author certainly kept you guessing with regard to the identity of the PRK (Pink Rose Killer ) and some of the descriptions in “The Child/ Artist” were very gruesome. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading ...more
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 ...more
George P.
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Snakes and Ladders is the third installment in Victoria Selman’s murder mystery series featuring Ziba MacKenzie, former British Special Forces officer, now “freelance offender profiler and serial killer expert,” as one character describes her in the book. (See my previous reviews here and here.)

It is four stories rolled into one: First, Ziba’s collaboration with New Scotland Yard as they hunt for the Pink Rose Killer, so called because PRK places a pink rose next to victims’ bodies. Second, PRK’
Fay Flude
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller. It got me up twice in the middle of the night to read on which is usually a sure sign a reader is hooked!
I hadn't read the two books in the series prior to this offering and although I will now want to read the other books, it did not prevent me from enjoying the efforts of Ziba MacKenzie as a standalone story.
Yet again this female protagonist is a tough woman, a profiler working for Scotland Yard who has lost her husband to a shooting and now is wary about ge
Tod Hilton
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, mystery
Summary: I really enjoy the Ziba MacKenzie series. The writing is engaging and succinct, the stories move at a swift pace, there are more than a few surprising twists, and she explores the main character enough to get to know and understand her a little better each time. Recommended for mystery/crime readers!

Ziba MacKenzie: The main character is intelligent, strong-willed, introspective, and confident. She also has a tendency to be impetuous, insecure, emotionally closed off, and judgmental. All
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
So far, I've been very impressed with Ziba MacKenzie's stories and number 3 does not disappoint. Ziba faces a real baddie in the tradition of the best charming but super-scary serial killers. Ziba put Vernon Sange behind bars, but she now needs him to catch a new killer whose only calling card is a rose petal. The murders are creepy and, as much as Ziba tries, the police are nowhere near catching the killer. There's also personal drama as her relationship with her late husband's best friend gets ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, the short chapters mean that it is punchy and rattles along at a quick pace, which matched the urgency with which Ziba and her team have to find the killer. It is the third book in the Ziba MacKenzie series, but it can be read as a stand-alone, I haven’t read the first two and it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this one. Ziba is a well drawn, well rounded character and generally I liked her, although I preferred the character of the love interest Jack. I expect the will they, w ...more
Jacqueline  sharp
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book on #pigeonholeHQ and was absolutely gripped with eat as each stave was released. This is one of the most gripping reads I have had all year, just when you think you know who it is, someone else comes into your sight, found myself switching from one character to another. But wow what fantastic characters. I love Ziba have purchased the first two books which come before this one. However, this can be read as a stand-alone novel. Who is the PRK? Why are parts of the dead bodies bei ...more
Veronika Jordan
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this. A bit Silence of the Lambs meets Dan Brown and I particularly like the codes and clues aspect. Dr Sange is an interesting character as you don't expect a serial killer to be so handsome and charismatic (unless it's Keanu Reeves in The Watcher - though maybe not charismatic). I'm not sure Ziba would be my first choice of profiler -she's a bit off the mark at times. Difficult to review this without giving anything away. Suffice to say I don't totally agree that seria ...more
Angela Han
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank for Netgalley for sharing this book for a honest review.

This is my first mystery thriller book read in 2020. I was rather impressed for these reasons.

1.) Even though I did not read the prior books in the series, I can tell that the author continues the story or plot from the 1st book. It was as if I was reading a continuous plot to be continued.

2.) The author creates a suspense from beginning to end of the book.

3.) I felt curious throughout the book as hints of the killer was subtlety d
Susan Bailey
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well what a great book! Ziba managed to make me laugh out loud as well as irritate me at times which shows how superbly written her character was and I’m already impatient for the next book in this series (there has to be one surely 🤞🏻). Loved the detail in the writing even though at times it was gruesome, and the twists and turns made this a proper page turner keeping my interest right up to the very end. This is book 3 in the series but worked as a stand alone, although I enjoyed it so much I’ ...more
Alison Alice-May
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I hadn’t read any of Victoria’s previous books but it was easy to read as a stand alone. As soon as I finished I downloaded her previous two books as I didn’t want to miss out on Ziba MacKenzie’s other adventures. This was an exciting read full of red herrings, leaving the reader puzzled until the end. The serial killer in the book is close to real serial killers, and I think that real crime enthusiasts will enjoy picking through his foibles. I thought the character ...more
Lauren Talk Back Fernandez
Silence of the lambs was and is one of my favorite movies of all time! I was super intrigued to read this since it was compared to a classic; however, it fell short for me. The story was a little boring for me. There was too much thinking dialogue with Ziba and herself. There wasn't enough action to keep me going. I liked the story and the puzzles that needed to be solved, but in the end it just left me hanging. This is a serial killer investigation type of story. There was nothing suspenseful t ...more
Nov 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I would like to thank Pigeonhole and the author for allowing me to read along.

I would like to make it as clear as possible that this book is the THIRD in a series. I had no idea when I started reading along with this until it became pretty obvious. The author insists that this can be read as a stand-alone. I think that it can but I would have enjoyed it so much more if I had read the other books in the series. There was so much that had obviously happened in previous books with several of the ch
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was completely hooked with this gripping story. It was my first Victoria Selman novel and I was very impressed. Reminiscent of the excellent Silence of the Lambs it follows Behaviour Analyst Ziba MacKenzie helping to solve a series of very disturbing murders, which unfortunately for her requires the help of a seriously twisted serial killer already behind bars. I was lucky enough to be able to read this via the Pigeonhole App, a Stave a a day over ten days. I couldn’t wait for each one to arri ...more
Charlotte Pattison-Rideout
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this twisty, turny tale. My first introduction to Ziba Mackenzie as a character but, although there are two previous books, this works as a stand-alone story. Ziba is a strong, witty but still humanly flawed lead and I quickly grew to love her - and want to throttle her sometimes too! There is so much going on! Lots of clues, suspects, red herrings and intrigue - all designed to make the reader second guess everything - and I did. Brilliantly written and truly gripping. I’ve a ...more
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After graduating from Oxford University, Victoria Selman studied Creative Writing at the City Lit and wrote for the Ham & High and Daily Express newspapers.

In 2013 she won the Full Stop Short Story Prize and her first novel, Blood for Blood, was shortlisted for the 2017 Debut Dagger Award.

Victoria lives in London with her husband and two sons.

Other books in the series

Ziba MacKenzie (4 books)
  • Blood for Blood (Ziba MacKenzie, #1)
  • Nothing to Lose (Ziba MacKenzie, #2)
  • Ziba MacKenzie Box Set (Ziba MacKenzie, #1 - 2)

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