Tag Archives: mystery thriller

Review: Pretty Little Things by Jillianne Hoffman

4 Stars

Bobby Dees, an investigator who heads up the Crimes Against Children squad in Miami, is called in to investigate a possible endangered runaway.  Lainey Emerson is missing.  She’s the thirteen year old middle child of a family who has had their share of run-ins with the police already.  Her older sister has a history of running away and she’s also had problems with substance abuse.  Her mother works too much and her step-father favors his own child over another man’s problem, Lainey and her sister.  Lainey didn’t come home one Friday night after saying she was going to a movie with a friend.  She wasn’t reported missing for two days and the local police and even her family are writing her off as a runaway, but they call in Special Agent Dees anyway just to make sure they cover all the bases and cover their own asses in the process.

Special Agent Dees has been the savior of many missing children.  Bringing them home when all hope seems lost.  But the one child he couldn’t bring home was his own daughter.  Now as it nears the anniversary of her disappearance, another missing child is found dead.  Her death and location depicted by the killer after he sent a painting to to show the police, especially Bobby Dees, what he’s done.

This book is full of twists and turns.  I wasn’t expecting many of the things that happened.  The author kept me on my toes and always guessing.  I think that some may be able to untangle the web and figure out who the killer is or there may be others, like me, that just went along for the ride and had a blast with this mystery.

This one won’t be for everyone, it is about missing children and violence against young people.  That’s not everyone’s cup of tea and while the violence isn’t overly descriptive, your imagination can run with it and figure it out.  Those of us with children can find this an uncomfortable position to be in when we’re imagining this happening to our own daughters.  Definitely a solid mystery and suspense novel worthy of taking a chance.

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Review: In Dark Places by Michael Prescott

3 Stars

In Dark Places is a pretty decent thriller about a psychiatrist who is on the verge of having technology that may finally be key in helping criminals who were victim of past violence to break the cycle and keep themselves out of prison and be productive members of society.  Her research brings her to Los Angeles where she has been given permission to try her treatment on a serial killer, Justin Gray.  A man who killed 5 teen-aged girls before being caught.  Dr. Robin Cameron wants to see if she can help Justin and maybe even cure him.  She’s also asked to take on a police officer as a test subject, a man suffering from what seems to be PTSD after being involved in a shooting where he took the life of another man.

The characters are fairly unsympathetic and for the most part, difficult to relate to.  You know that there’s something not quite right when you start to root for the convicted serial killer.  There were several times where I just wanted to smack Dr. Cameron upside the head and call her a naive idiot.  It’s okay to have an optimistic outlook and to believe in your research, but when all signs point in one direction and you’re stubbornly going the other way?  That’s just looking for trouble.

Some of the other characters have absolutely no redeeming qualities and others just seemed to be thrown in as an afterthought and lent nothing to the story itself.  There were also points where the point of view got lost, it reached a point where it was nearly impossible to figure out who was doing the talking.  But…

The story is fast paced and there are plenty of twists and turns throughout the book.  I didn’t see many of the twists that came about at all.  So definitely a thumbs up in that regard.  Too many suspense novels are formulaic to the point where you can guess what’s going to happen and who is going to do it.  I was surprised several times through the story with where the story arc went.  If you’re looking for a decent suspense novel with good twists, pick this one up.

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