Saturday, March 1, 2014

Karen Robards: The Last Victim

In the first novel in her new series Karen Robards, has a forensic psychologist who can do more than diagnosis the psychopath, but can see their victim's ghosts:

Dr. Charlotte (Charlie) Stone is a distinguished expert in criminal pathology so it should come no surprise to her when the FBI seeks her out to help consult on their case. However, this case has a more personal than Charlie. When Charlie was 16 she witnessed an unspeakable act of the murder of her friend and family and this was the push that started Charlie on her path, to understand Why. The FBI thinks that Charlie can put into perspective what is happening and if the killer she witnessed once before, has struck again. All Charlie and the FBI know is that more families are going to die and it is up to Charlie and her unique perspective and abilities to stop them.

When I first read the premise me first thoughts were "okay this could be interesting". I will say that I did not get the whole I can see ghost aspect from the premise and was a bit of a surprise to see that enter into play. I would think that you would want to make mention of that as there are quite a few people who enjoy the addition of the paranormal aspect in mystery books these days. But that was okay as I happen to be one of them, it was I guess a twist I did not see coming right at the beginning.

Nevertheless, overall I find this book hard to review due to Robards choice of leading man. While I understand that there are some people and this includes women who have in the past found serial killers attractive and for all intense purposes they were attractive and were able to attract the attention of many women (just think of Bundy or Paul Bernardo) I just did not see this as crossing over into this book. I'm unsure if Robards just wanted to create the ultimate Bad Boy, that all the girls fall for. However, I do not think that it is appropriate for someone who is a doctor/psychologist/researcher to have sexual fantasies and thoughts about a serial killer especially when they themselves classify the subject as psychopath, when it is their job to help them. I am unsure of what Robards was thinking or what her overall strategy was when she chose Michael Garland as the leading man. Maybe she was trying to be different or edgy but I think she failed on both aspects. As you read further into the novel you understand, but there should have been a different way to get to this point outside of attraction and sex. I think this is going to be a polar book you either agree with Robards choice of a leading man or not.

If you take the questionable leading man aspect out of the equation, I would say overall this book is just okay. The mystery is okay, nothing too new there or new idea for a serial killer. The characters are just okay, Dr Charlie Stone is a interesting enough with a background that you can understand why she became a psychologist, but due to the leading man issue and her choice as him as her romantic thoughts ect, I found it hard to respect her. The paranormal aspect is nothing new and there seems to be more and more novels where the main character has the ability to see ghost and within the more mystery and thriller genres they help them solve cases, nothing new there either. When the rest of the book is just okay and then it is over shadowed with a poor leading man choice, I can personally say that I did not enjoy this book.

This is a romantic suspense book with a larger part of it seemed to be geared towards the romance side of things. I don't really know how to recommend this book as I found fault with Robards leading man choice in the novel and this aspect takes over everything else in the book. I think it could have been handled in a different way that still would have allowed Michael Garland to be part of the story. I do not think I will continue on with this series.

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