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Zombie Doe, a young girl who had been tortured and was dead or nearly dead by New Years Eve, is thrown from the trunk of a dark sedan into the path of a party limousine. If she wasn't dead before she certainly was after she fell into a snarl of holiday traffic. Thus begins another of the Nikki and Sam serial killer adventures set in midwinter Minnesota.
Pros: Hoag is a competent writer so I don't regret buying and listening to this novel.
Cons: This is a narrator that I am not familiar with and I don't particularly care for his reading style. His female voices are particularly annoying.
The characters are lacking in development. I really had no emotional attachment to the kids (and Hoag generally does kids well) or to any of the victims. Usually there is a bit of ambiguity about the adult characters in her previous books leading to suspense, but it was clear right off who the bad guys were.
I also think that Hoag made a mistake making this a "message" story. There was a theme involving bullying in high school that sometimes had me skipping pages. I would cheerfully have turned most of the kids over to the serial killer. Georges St. Pierre got mentioned a lot and I finally broke down and googled him while writing this.
I missed the Sam and Tinks' (Nikki) cohesiveness as a Homicide partnership present in most of the other books. Tinks and Sam both seemed tired. The numerous references to the daughter that Sam gave up to his ex-wife as a infant made me wonder if this was foreshadowing a future book.
I don't regret the time I spent reading this book, but I'm certainly not going to reread it like I have many of her prior suspense novels.
37 of 38 people found this review helpful
I suppose there is some demand for a book about a tough-but-gentle mom/cop who loves her children but hates people who mutilate and murder innocent-but-misunderstood teenage girls, but I didn't realize I was contributing to it when I plunked down my credit towards this supposed mystery/suspense/thriller.
I'm frankly baffled by the good reviews this book has gotten, so I assume there is an appetite for these ingredients:
1: A corpse nicknamed Zombie Doe by the Minneapolis Police Force, because she looked like a zombie bouncing out of the trunk of a speeding car.
2: A curmudgeonly cop with an estranged daughter about the same age as Zombie Doe and a penchant for introspection.
3: A conflicted female cop who frets she works too hard and long for society at the expense of her fractured family
4: A conflicted female cop's teenaged son who thinks his mother works too long and hard at his expense, but shows real grit in the face of bullying and makes his mother proud because he's actually a great kid even if he's a free thinker and not one of the popular kids.
5: A self-centered mother of a troubled teen-aged girl who cares more about herself than her daughter (Imagine how that's going to end up!).
6: A diabolical serial killer.
7: A psychologist with a weakness for troubled teenaged girls and their mothers.
The recipe this book seems to follow is to combine these ingredients (along with a pinch of schmaltz and maybe a dash of self-righteousness ) and just shake and serve.
More predictable than mysterious, and more pedantic than suspenseful, this audiobook was about as thrilling as a Public Service Announcement.
32 of 35 people found this review helpful
Great story. I thought I knew who did it and boy was I wrong. The twist at the end left me with my mouth hanging.
Great characters working homicide. No frills grit with believable characters and interesting plots. Not my favorite Hoag but still better than most genre fiction.