Pretty Little Things Hardcover – 4 Feb 2010
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For some time now, there’s been a name to add to that list of women writers unhampered by the traditional discretion that has been such a straitjacket for their sex – a growing number of female authors are ready to confront the more gruesome aspects of human behaviour. Their number includes Karin Slaughter, Patricia Cornwell and Karen Rose -- and notable in that company is the American Jilliane Hoffman. Hoffman's Retribution firmly established the writer as one of the most uncompromising practitioners in the serial killer field, and Last Witness consolidated the sterling work done in that book. And here’s Pretty Little Things, Hoffman’s latest (on the jacket of which her publisher invokes the names of the women above – with justification).
After a date on Halloween, Lainey Emerson disappears, along with a new boyfriend. This individual, known only by the nickname of El Captain, is the obvious suspect. Bobby Dees, the tenacious special agent of Florida’s crack Crimes Against Children squad, is the one person who may be able to find her -- and he is both helped and hindered by the fact that he knows only too well how it feels to lose a child. But all of his resources are called upon by a nemesis who always seems to be one step ahead – and time is running out for the missing girl.
As in Retribution, this high-octane narrative is dispatched with maximum efficiency by the unsentimental Jilliane Hoffman. The author has a strong background in Florida law enforcement, which she cannily parleys into the verisimilitude of the storytelling here. If you prefer not to be disturbed by your crime fiction, steer clear. The rest of us will be very reluctant to put down Pretty Little Things before we’ve finished it. --Barry Forshaw
Praise for Jillianne Hoffman:
‘Guaranteed to follow in the best-selling footsteps of Cornwell, Reiches and Slaughter’ Guardian
‘Gripping, well-crafted suspense…a belter of a book’ Sunday Express
‘Hoffman writes like an angel. Outstanding’ Independent on Sunday
‘Hugely readable’ Daily MirrorSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is another serial killer saga but with a difference. Special Agent Bobby Dees, who has taken on the burden of tracking down this hunter of young girls, also has a missing teenage daughter, believed to be a runaway but, in reality, probably one of the killer's victims.
Jilliane Hoffman, once in her stride, never lets up on the tension front. Dees's marriage is falling apart because there is no closure in his daughter's case and his career is under scrutiny for pretty much the same reason. As more bodies are found, discovered with the help of some weird paintings in which the killer, now nick-named Picasso, has included some clues as to their whereabouts and sent to Dees via a small-time news reporter covering the case, Dees finally has to admit that his daughter is likely to feature sooner or later in one of the paintings.
The author gives us the story from both the perspective of the unknown killer and, obviously, from the pursuer's investigative standpoint, enabling her to build on the tension within the Police Department as their efforts seem to be in vain.
It is not until the last few chapters, when everything seems to be finally resolved that we learn who the killer is and where other victims can be found. That Dees is placed in a terrible predicament, since he's been removed from the case and yet believes it's not really over, enables the author to keep us guessing until the end as to what did happen to his daughter.
If one takes out of the equation one, to my mind, serious flaw in just who's who in the criminal part of the story, this is a great read. However, this flaw is significant but to suggest why would act as a huge spoiler which would be unfair on an otherwise excellent, nail-biting story.
The narrative features the perspectives of several characters so as a reader you have an overall picture of what is happening and from early on the main suspects start to line up. The plot is suspenseful with graphic descriptions of the murder victims, written in short, succinct sentences using everyday language and equally short chapters which help keep up the fast moving pace.
I found the novel easy to read, liked the fast pace but felt let down when the perpetrator was finally revealed as I found it slightly not credible and didn't feel that we learned about the killer's motivation. However, overall I thought it was a good read and the character of Bobby Dees was interesting along with how the special police squad operated.
The book starts off with Lainey, chatting away innocently to a boy on the Internet, he's 17, blonde, athletic and goes by the nickname ElCapitan. She decides to meet this new boy... but of course it's not what she expects.
We meet Special Agent Bobby Dees who specifically works looking for missing children, and he knows exactly what its like to lose a child. It's soon apparent there's a serial killer operating who loves to paint pictures of his young victims, and thus gains the nickname Picasso. Bobby must find out who's behind these killings before the number of dead young girls increases, whilst also fighting his own personal ghosts, and gaining false hope...
This was one book I couldn't put down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and it made for a great page turning read. It did come full of twists and thankfully the killer wasn't too obvious... however any average read of a good crime thriller might just guess who is behind it all just like I did. Despite this it was an excellent read and there was plenty of other twists to keep me reading.
The short chapters in this book switch from character to character, one moment we're reading from Bobby's point of view, next you're in the mind of the serial killer, or we're back to Lainey and the terror she is going through. This only helped in making this a book you just can not put down and it worked very well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good holiday read able to put down and remember where you left, keeps you guessing until near to the endPublished 7 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Wow... I was glued from beginning to end. This was a fast paced action packed tale of a horrific serial killer with an unexpected ending. Read more
Brilliant book. Page turner. Couldn't put it down. Will definitely buy more fro this author.Published 5 months ago by Deka117