This is a spoiler free review.
My rating: 3/5 Stars
So, this book is a mystery/thriller type book, which is way different than my usual genre, but I needed a little bit of a break from fantasy (whaaaa?) because let’s face it: I would only be setting myself up for disappointment after binge re-reading Throne of Glass.
- Author: Rick Murcer
- Pages: 265
- Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
- Purchase on Amazon (this book is available on Kindle Unlimited)
- Rick’s site
A disturbing and gruesome serial killer is on the loose with a distinct calling card: after every murder, he stages his victim’s body with meticulous attention to detail—perfectly dressed, perfectly made-up, and pinned with the disconcerting message “NOT HER.” This serial killer won’t settle for anything less than perfection.
Forensics expert Ellen Harper is assigned to investigate the bizarre string of crimes. Reeling from a recent divorce, she channels her emotions and energy into protecting the women of Chicago from the deranged killer. To complicate matters, Brice Rogers, a good-looking detective with some issues of his own, is working the case at her side.
As the body count climbs, Ellen must attempt to conquer her own demons, piece together the workings of a mind born of hate, and find the murderer before he kills again. And again.
So, not being a mystery reader, my only baseline comparison for these type of stories are Lifetime movies (which, btw, aren’t all bad!!). Unfortunately, if this were a Lifetime movie, it would be one of the bad ones that gives that poor channel its cheesy reputation.
Let’s start with the characters. Can someone say cliché? I’ve seen the insane, yet smart and thorough serial killer way too many times. But wait, there’s more: the angsty, genius investigator with a bad attitude, who, despite her heart of iron, manages to fall for the hot, secretive super-cop. I feel like the storyline was way more about her mentally undressing this guy rather than actually trying to find the victims who might be getting murdered.
The plotline starts out slow, though it gets slightly more exciting about halfway through. It’s kind of just monotonous chapters about investigative work, like a Criminal Minds episode. I will mention that there are multiple POVs, which worked because it was interesting to see the case from multiple perspectives. Otherwise, everything felt very Blues Clues.
All the cops: “This evidence is going nowhere!”
Ellen Harper, angsty investigator: “I’m a genius, look I noticed something no one else did. Clap for me!”
Okay, that’s not quite a direct quote, but close enough. Repeat that about 5 times and you’ve got the basic idea! There wasn’t a lot of development to the case or the characters, so this definitely would have been an episode of a crime show rather than a full Lifetime movie.
And the ending. Ugh, this book was salvageable. And the author missed his chance. The ending was extremely anticlimactic and made no sense whatsoever. There was a plot twist that seemed very, very forced. There was no foreshadowing to it in the book; it just came out of nowhere. It seemed like Murcer didn’t even know the ending until we did.
Ultimately, this was a disappointment, but a very quick read. I hope my next off-genre adventures go better.
Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and friend me on Goodreads! Links in the sidebar.