2.5 stars. I'm not sure what I think of this series.
On the one hand, I started the book yesterday, stayed up too late reading it, and finished it this morning. So it must have kept me interested, right?
The main thrust of the story involved a child pornography ring and a couple of really
bad people running it. I didn't see the bad guy coming until Jeff Tolliver did - and it gave me the creeps, as was surely intended. She chose her villians wisely -- people you would never expect, which makes it more insidious than if it were the obvious. Of course, she throws the obvious in as well (helping out the main villian), just to keep things familiar, I guess.
On the other hand, I'm finding I don't care for some of her main characters (I don't think it's just me - she has written them as extremely unsympathetic) and the way she tells her stories is beginning to rub me wrong.
In the first book it was the disappearing kid with a fatal cancer diagnosis that did me in. In this book it was a double whammy red-herring: female genital mutilation (FGM) and flushing a baby down a toilet.
Neither of which had much to do with the actual plot of the book once you got into it. The author threw them into Chapter 1 to grab our attention, then left them until the end of the book, where she threw them back in (in what seemed to me to be a really offhand way).
**Major spoiler alert**
Kind of an oh, by the way, the baby from the beginning? It didn't belong to either of the girls, but to the one girl's mom, who was undergoing cancer treatments, whose husband had no idea she was pregnant, even though she was five-feet-fuck-all and had had a double masectomy. WTF?! And the way she wrapped up the FGM was another half-assed aside in the last chapter of the book. The victim, a 13yr old girl, starts the procedure on herself
, her mother finishes
it, sews her up and that's the end of it? Worthy only of mention in the last chapter, when the other girl victim does a little monologue wrapping up all the loose ends that Dr. Linton and her husband can't possibly figure out on their own, as all the bad guys are either dead, in a coma or escaped.
It seems to me like the author has some really BIG, GRAND ideas for a crime story at the beginning of both books I've read. Nothing wrong with that, to be sure, but I'm starting to think from reading her books that she ends up not knowing what to do with them all. And the book as a whole suffers for it.
Nevertheless, I will slog on through the series. Her books are an entertaining way to spend a few hours - the stories themselves have a lot going for them -- it's the execution that, for me, is just meh.