Saturday, November 12, 2011

All The Pretty Girls by J.T. Ellison

Synopsis:  When a local girl falls prey to a sadistic serial killer, Nashville Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson and her lover, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin, find themselves in a joint investigation pursuing a vicious murderer. The Southern Strangler is slaughtering his way through the Southeast, leaving a gruesome memento at each crime scene -- the prior victim's severed hand.

Ambitious TV reporter Whitney Connolly is certain the Southern Strangler is her ticket out of Nashville; she's got a scoop that could break the case. She has no idea how close to this story she really is -- or what it will cost her.

As the killer spirals out of control, everyone involved must face a horrible truth -- the purest evil is born of private lies

My thoughts: I thought it was an ok thriller but not the best I've read. It felt as if I was missing an entire book that came before ATPG but this is actually the first one. The relationship between Baldwin and Taylor is already in full swing and there is little to no romance in this book making it feel more of a thriller than romantic suspense. Their relationship did progress but I would have liked to see more of it. Also the first half of the book talked quite a bit about her trying to cope with almost dying in an incident that happened before this book started. That incident was the turning point in her and Baldwin's relationship marking them as a couple. We came into the story after that was all done. I would have liked to have read about it first hand instead of reading about it rehashed as if I should have already known about it. The last half of the book didn't mention her struggle to get back to normal at all.

The plot was muddied quite a bit with another case that was thrown on Taylor that had absolutely nothing to do with the serial killer one Baldwin was working on. I originally thought this book was Taylor's story but it turned into Baldwin's while we see him trying to figure out the serial killers next move.

There seemed to be quite a few plot threads that were thrown in but didn't seem to have much to do with the main story. The addition of the Special Agent Grimes saga felt gratuitous as an OMG factor and the story could have continued nicely without it. In addition the motive behind the serial killer's spree seems a stretch if best. I find it hard to believe that what appears to be a good person would suddenly decide to start murdering and dismembering a specific type of woman. In most cases when authorities dive into the back ground of most serial killers there were red flags that popped up as early as childhood. I can't buy that a person would start with killing one woman and find they really enjoyed doing and progress rapidly into a frenzied psycho killer. We have to accept the "crazy" card in this case as the killer's motive and means. I just can't.

I also thought that the additional Whitney thread was interesting but I honestly didn't understand how she came up with the knowledge of who the killer was based on some emails with parts of well known poems on them. As there was one 'suspect' and then the real killer I'm still not sure if Whitney actually knew the killer's identity or if she fell for the 'red herring'.

One last thought. I am extremely character driven when it comes to the books I read. I felt that the characters in this book were not as fleshed out as I would have liked. I think the author tried to make them seem more human but didn't quite accomplish it. Neither Baldwin nor Taylor seem very real to me after finishing this book. Great characters should stay with you when the book is done. These do not.

I will read more by this author but will not rush to do so.


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