Book Review: Caged

CAGED | Ellison Cooper
(Agent Sayer Altair #1)
07.10.2018 | Minotaur Books
Rating: 4/5 stars


FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair has dedicated her life to understanding what makes a serial killer tick. She wants to know what is different about the brain of a killer and that of a normal person. When she’s not spending lab hours trying to find answers to this mystery, she is out in the streets chasing killers. In an attempt to shut herself off from the overwhelming emotions over the tragic loss of her fiance, Sayer is determined to stay focused on her career.

Local police in Washington, D.C. have stumbled upon a gruesome murder scene involving a girl who was kept in a cage and starved to death. Sayer is called in to lead the investigation and when the victim is linked to a high-profile government official, she finds herself in the spotlight. The pressure is on as another victim is taken. Can Sayer save this second abducted girl or will time run out?


What a heart pounding read! CAGED feels ripped from an FBI procedural show with one truly twisted killer at the heart of it! I immediately was engaged and drawn into the story, as Cooper opens it with a visit to the location where a horrific crime scene waits. Tensions are high, emotions are high, and you simply can’t stop reading. I love when an author is able to draw me immediately into a story by dropping me at the doorstep of a crime. Nothing is more heart-pounding to read than when you’re discovering a crime or chasing down a criminal. This book has both!

The pacing of CAGED is the perfect mix of intense, fast-paced action and in-depth police procedural scenes to make it feel like the story just walked off the screen. Are there some cliche parts in the police procedural sections? Sure, but they don’t detract from the story and if you’re a fan of this style of stories, you’ll definitely enjoy this one!


Agent Sayer Altair is the perfect protagonist to lead this story. She is strong-willed, determined, and flawed. Readers of police procedurals are probably used to the damaged detective trope in these books. Sayer could certainly fall into that category with the many issues she has in her past, however, her overarching strength offsets that. At the end of the day I never saw Sayer as a troubled character. Everyone has issues in their personal lives and Sayer is simply no different in my opinion.

There are some gruesome scenes and topics in CAGED that some readers may not sit well with. My recommendation would be to give the book a try from your library if you’re worried. You will definitely know within the first few chapters if this story is for you.

CAGED is an excellent debut and launch of series that I highly recommend putting on your TBR! I’ll be picking up book two, BURIED, in the next few days, so stay tuned for thoughts on that book as well!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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