- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Harper (January 28, 2014)
- ISBN-10: 0062291408
- Source: Publisher
Amanda Jackson has always been interested in the evil side of human nature. It started at a relatively young age and has progressed so dramatically that she, along with her grandfather, take part in an online mystery group. While originally created to investigate the unsolved Jack the Ripper murders, the group is now investigating a string of murders that have cropped up on San Francisco. Certain to uncover something the police have overlooked, Amanda becomes closer to the case than she imagined when her mother, Indiana, a holistic healer, is kidnapped. Amanda now has the strongest motivation ever to identify the killer, before her mother becomes the next victim.
When I learned about the premise of this book, my interest was immediately piqued. My education has a background in both criminal justice and psychology and, like many others, I’ve always been fascinated by the unsolved Ripper killings. When I was pitched this book, I couldn’t resist. And then I got the book. And started reading. And it was nothing like I imagined.
While the serial murder cases certainly have a spot in the plot of this novel, the main focus is actually the characters. While I’m a fan of character-driven novels, I admit this was a huge disappointment. A fan of this author’s previous work, I was bound and determined to keep reading, certain it would pay off in the end. Not so much. I actually stopped reading sixty pages before the conclusion. I couldn’t do it any more. I found the novel to be inundated with so much character focus and development that I think it truly lost its point and focus. Additionally, whether it be to poor editing or a poorly executed novel, I found myself to feel insulted as a reader due to the excessive repetitive statements and facts. Things the reader had been told already would come up, portrayed as new information.
Additionally, the character focus seemed to be all over the place. One minute we were focusing on one character (which would require flashbacks to the past, etc.) and then it would spiral on to the next character, seemingly out of the blue. Decisions made by some of the characters seemed completely out of the norm that would be expected given all that we knew about them up until that point and so, ultimately, I gave up. I couldn’t do it anymore.
If this was this author’s attempt to leap into the world of thriller fiction, I think she failed. Even if she just wanted that as a backdrop and wanted to instead focus on the characters, that too failed. In the end, I feel as there was just so much information that the original intent of the novel was overlooked.
Typically, if I do not finish a book I don’t review it. Yet in this case I feel the need, the duty to report just why I couldn’t finish it, despite being so close to the end. So, take this review as my opinion and choose to read this novel if you like, but personally, I cannot recommend it. At all. To anyone.