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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 8 December 2001
This is an unusual book for Maggie Shayne as it does not focus on the paranormal as much as most of her others do. However this does not detract anything at all from this book.It is a tense,very well written thriller which focuses on a serial killer who leaves no clues,and is driving the police crazy, until a homeless man sees him leaving the building of his latest killing spree.
What follows is an emotional rollercoaster as you realise that this man not only kills very young children but keeps them for several weeks before disposing of the bodies. Even the toughest cops have a hard time dealing with the desecration that they find in the house. A clue is found among the debris in the derelict building which happens to be the childrens book 'the gingerbread man'. This in turn leads to a whole new line for the story to follow,which takes you back many years into the past.
This is a fantastic book which will keep you turning pages rapidly.If you have never read a Maggie Shayne book this would be a good starter, if you know Maggie's work well you won't be surprised at how good this is .I would highly recommend this book to everyone, go and buy it !You will not be disappointed.
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on 7 October 2013
Good story, likeable characters, but really slow in some places. No gore, although I still wouldn't recommend it for people who are overly sensitive.

After the murder of two children, Detective Vince O'Mally is given the choice to see a psychiatrist on a daily basis or take time off. He decides instead to go to a back water town in the middle of nowhere based on a tenuous lead he found at the crime scene. When he gets there, he meets a girl who's a bit odd and "delicate". He has a gut feeling that she's somehow involved and carries on following her around.

At this point, there's a slightly out of place "Killer Monologue". You can guess who the killer is here, because there's only a handful of people who could possibly know why Vince is in town.

After this, nothing much happens besides a bit of romancing, some not-quite-kisses, lying together naked, hanging out and walking about. I accept that Maggie Shayne is trying to develop the relationship between the two characters, but it gets a bit too much. Some passages actually reminded me of the Twilight book, with the "must resist her" theme running through it.

Around 50% of the way through, stuff starts to happen! Hurray, you say! There's a party, scary old man, there's hysteria, screaming kids, panic .... then.... it slows down again, and nothing happens for a while /sigh.

There's a few pages here, where everyone starts referring to one of the women in the story as "child". It reminded me of actress Loretta Devine, and becomes quite distracting.

Then the grand finale! No build up, no tension whatsoever. It ended so prematurely, I was disappointed.

Nice story overall, bit too romantic. Needs a bit more pace and tension overall to be thrilling.

WARNING!! - Spoiler alert:

I got a bit confused by the timeline of the story. If I'd missed the bit about the girl's age, then I apologise. I must've missed the bit where it says how old Holly was when Ivy was kidnapped. Even so, I'm guessing Holly could be anything between 10 - 14 (because she's showing interest in boys), but if Ivy was 3 years younger, then Ivy could've been 7 - 11.. Oh who knows.

Anyway, if I'd been separated from my only sister for 15-20 years, I would still recognise her after 15-20 years. A person's face never changes so much that they're unrecognisable, especially by close family members. I found this point in the story a little hard to believe.
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on 26 August 2013
After reading the other reviews on this book I decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed it, it was thrilling and kept me wanting to read more, I ended up reading late into the night trying to work out the guilty party and was wrong in my conclusion.
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on 17 October 2016
Not happy with this. It clearly hasn't been properly proofread or edited and I've given up on it. I persisted till I almost made 30% but the mistakes just keep on coming and I find myself WAY too bogged down concentrating on them and not the story, which is very good. I'd love to finish it sometime but only if it gets properly presented.
It may be partly my fault as I downloaded it way back in August 2013 (!!) but Amazon are supposed to update books in your library as they get re-issued and if it has been since that date then they need to look at it again.
Here we go with the litany of errors I managed to spot and it seems the publisher clearly overlooked. She writes "...these arc my children", I recorded 10 missed fullstops which is pretty atrocious. A hyphen suddenly got added to the name Gray-cloud when before and after it was Graycloud. Then we lost a comma in this sentence-"....don't interrupt Vince" wore me down.
As I say, the story was one I was enjoying but for me it's also all in the presentation.
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on 31 October 2013
It started out as being good. The characters seemed interesting, the plot could go anywhere... But those characters didn't grow, and the plot went exactly where I figured it would; with a random crude sex scene halfway through that didn't add anything to the plot whatsoever.
Maybe it's because I'm not old enough to appreciate it - I don't have children of my own - but I didn't feel much of anything for the characters. There wasn't any reason to root for them, they weren't all that likeable. Plus there were a few too many 'damaged' women wandering around breathing into paper bags and getting sedated. Or at least that's how I felt about it.
As for the twist (there's only one); it was pretty damn predictable. It might have been good if I didn't see it coming six weeks before the characters did!
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on 25 April 2016
Enjoyed this story even though it's about child abuse and child murder. Sisters Holly and Ivy (yes really! explanation in the story) are ripped apart when very young when Ivy is abducted by an unknown predator. Vince while working on a case of the murder of two youngsters whose bodies are discovered in Syracuse is put on forced leave by his boss. Fragile Holly and obsessed Vince come together and you can guess that part of the story. This tale is a little far-fetched but the most irritating thing (hence 4 stars not 5) is that the story ends quite neatly at 80% in the book. This means that the next 20% is a preview another story. Most annoying.
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on 22 August 2016
great book you just want to turn the pages to find out what happens next. The storyline does keep you on your toes as there are a lot of twists and turns, read this book quite quickly as I wanted to know where the story was going and its ending does not disappoint either. some books do have a tendancy to fall flat in the middle but this does not. not sure its bedtime reading as you don't want to put the book down.
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I'm very much 50/50 about Gingerbread Man. Is it a thriller or a romance?. The author never seems to quite make up her mind.

The lead character of Detective Vincent O'Mally is nicely developed though his crime investigation techniques leave much to be desired. If you take a senior police officer and put him on compassionate leave, after his involvement in a double child murder, you place him outside of the investigation and away from the force. He becomes isolated. There needs to be something tense and gripping to take the place of the police investigation; it's not here. O'Mally becomes random and spends his time following people or standing around. His 'hunches' are vague to say the least and aren't helped when the plot spins even further away and the romantic elements flood in.

Because the plot is thin and involves so few characters there's little chance of not guessing 'whodunnit' long before the final full stop. Any real action is kept under wraps until around the half way point when suddenly - there's action - things happen at a party - then it all goes quiet again and the story plods off towards an obvious conclusion.

I'm giving a 3* review because I enjoyed the character of O'Mally and the history of his involvement with the double child murders are nicely worked but; this is a novel lacking much of it's promised pace and darkness.
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on 10 September 2013
Mainly I did like how the story progressed but there were few very irritating points, such as how much it was hammered down how strong Holly really was. The plot was very weak relying on people having been so traumatized that they could not remember what actually had happened to them and then by just forcing themselves to remember, all was resolved. Guessed the twist before half way the book and was hoping that I would be wrong as it really made the whole book just really silly.
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on 12 September 2013
Never usually read this type of book but I enjoyed it couldn't put the bloody thing down would recommend reading it gripping story line
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