Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gregg Olsen: Victim Six

Gregg Olsen takes the reader to the small town of Puget Sound where the residences learn that a serial killer can happen even in the smallest town's backyards.

 It starts with a missing Mexican women who they think has simple run away, then a prostitute who they everyone thinks just up and left he child, but once their bodies are being discovered, brutally raped and tortured the detectives of Puget Sound have a feeling. Nothing links theses women together, other than the their time in the Killers' Fun House, therefore, any women from any walk of life could be next. The Detectives of Puget Sound are in way above their heads, and one news reporter seems to want to get to the bottom of it before they do, risking every thing, her morals, sanity and the lives of other women just to get the story.

I had trouble getting into this book at the beginning but once I was able to commit some time  to it(but found myself not really looking for the time to read this book), I found myself becoming more drawn into the story. I hate to use the words, but I found this book fairly typical and predictive. There was no new interesting aspects within the story, you knew who Victim Six is going to be and there were no surprises in story. The one thing that was kind of different or not quite the norm was the Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka (if you are Canadian you will understand the reference) aspect of the book. You can tell that Olsen has done research on serial killers and sexual sadist however, there is such a thing as too much research as his perpetrators became a mishmash of famous serial killers.

The main things I dislike when reading a mystery thriller book is when the reader is aware of who the perpetrator is and the investigators are not. I WANT to be able to figure out who the killer is and not have the book tell me till the end. I find I just keep waiting for the detectives to figure out the clues, not that there is very many within this book. I think that true thriller factor from this book occurs when you receive the sections that are from the killers point of view. I believe the reader finds out who the perpetrator is within the first half of the book, leaving the reader with another 200 or so pages to have the detectives catch up to them Olsen does not portray the Detectives as very competent, but this might be expected for a small town where the murders are taking place. But the Detectives do not really detect everything, they just follow the well laid clues. I think the only true detective within the book was the forensic pathologist Dr. Bird.

An aspect I did like within the book was the interaction between the reporter and the police detectives and the lines that are crossed in order to get information or to make a story. I think Olsen did a good job on showing how the police department both needs and reveres the newspaper, and how each entity and people uses each other. I also like the testing of morals of the Detective Josh Anderson and the reporter Serenity Hutchins. Olsen attempts to have characters that will grow and make them more personal like Detective Kendall Stark and her family life, but I found that this aspect did not really have any place within the story and did not do anything for the storyline or plot. It felt more like filler than anything else.

If you do not like books where you know who the perpetrator is before the detective do, this is not for you. If you do not enjoy books where parts are told from the killers point of view you will not like this book. This book is just bordering below Okay for me. I think this book could have been so much more if the killer had not been revealed so early, and the detectives were portrayed in a more competent manner and actually had some ability as detectives. I think I would give Olsen another try, A Wicked Snow (one of his earlier books in the fiction genre) has gotten some really good reviews or maybe some of his True Crime novels, either way  i'm thinking that this will be a used book store buy. And if you are thinking of reading Victim Six I would suggest either getting it from a used book store or borrowing it from the Library


Note: This book a quite a bit of Sexual Sadism content. The scenes are not extremely graphic, however, the reader receives enough description that some individuals will find it disturbing.

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