Women fascinated by men who are imprisoned for murder is a very interesting topic. When I read the description of this book I knew I had to read it. It started promising. We get to know Samantha, who gets infatuated with Dennis Danson. He is in prison for 20 years now and a lot of people fight for his release. There is no real evidence that he was involved in killing those girls. It looks like the local police was on a vendetta against him. There is also a documentary about Dennis on its way. He is getting famous through social media. It helps that he is handsome and charming. Sam starts to write to him and surprisingly he writes back. Finally, after lots and lots of letters and falling in love just by writing to each other, Sam decides to take a sabbatical and get on the next plane to meet Dennis in person. And then everything goes very quick.
The book started promising. The writing style was a bit rushed and it read more like a report than a novel. But it was interesting though. But then it somehow got boring. For some reason after Dennis’ release from prison the couple stays in Dennis’ old hometown in his father’s house. Sam does not understand why neither but somehow never questions him or make any attempts to leave or persuade Dennis to leave with her. She feels threatened by his former girlfriend and somebody is creeping around the house in the night. She is incredible passive. She is a very weird character and I got the feeling there was something wrong with her.
The story drags from this point. It started so promising but then it was all about the oh-so fascinating Dennis and the question if he is guilty or not. But the main problem is Sam. She is so whiny, so pathetic and such a drama queen. I am baffled that Dennis did not kill her on his first day out of prison.
When I started reading that book I was interested in what it was that women attracts to criminals. I think I got a hint of what it is. But it stayed at the surface. The initial crimes were just background noise and got never really explained. And I must admit I did not like where the story headed towards the end. Sam is not a very likable character and this conclusion was totally in character. But somehow I felt not comfortable with it. I don’t like that the author put her exactly in that crazy corner that most of us think those women belong.
I liked the idea of the story but the flat characters ruined it. The start was very good, it is decently written but failed to keep this strong storytelling all the way to the end.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
„Flowers For The Dead“ gives us a serial killer of a different kind. Actually Adam is a serial killer. But he seems also to be a lost soul. Searching for love but unable to interact properly with people he woos the girls he falls in love with in a creepy way.
There are two story lines. The first one is in the present where Adam is searching for a new love which he can take care of. The second timeline shows us Adam as a child. He has an abusive mother and he suffered a great deal during his childhood. And for me the question pops up: was he made the monster that he is by his mother or would he have turn out all the same if his childhood would have been a loving one? Then he also received love and understanding from his grandmother. She taught him to be gentle and respectful to women. So the question for me is if his mother broke him or was it always in him to kill people? I would not say I developed a soft spot for Adam although I pitied him sometimes. He is a sociopath but also has this longing to be loved and share a life with someone who understands him.
The author created a clever story and a sociopath to remember. But the story is a slow burner and it also takes all the time in the world to lay out Adam’s life. Only at the end the story picks up pace. That was my only problem with the book. It was a bit too slow and too long. But it is still a remarkable read.
I really had a hard time reading this book.
A lot of reviewers were disappointed that this book was so different to “The Butterfly Garden”. I must admit that I read it exactly because of that. I was not a huge fan of the Butterfly book. It was a very creepy read with a lot of weird characters and a very unrealistic story. But at least it was entertaining. This one here was such a slow burner. I thought about quitting multiple times. It was just so boring. Nothing really happens. It is all repetition. Flower deliveries. Agents traveling back and forth. All the same over and over. And you can easily figure out who the killer is. The characters are also again very weird. I disliked them all and none of them felt actually natural. I never felt “the force of nature” Prya’s mum allegedly should be. I also disliked Prya herself. And I could have done without the “butterflies”.
It a very slowly developing book with a boring story. The characters were all too edgy and creepy. I am very sorry because NetGalley and the publisher provided me with a copy but I must honestly admit that I did not enjoy it. I think I will not read another book from this author. Her idea a good story is not my cup of tea.
What You Don’t Know by JoAnn Chaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
„What you don’t know“ starts at a point where other books are ending. The killer is arrested and is in prison for 7 years now. We learn in flashbacks how this happened.
This book tells its crime story from a new perspective. It’s a character study of the people Seever left behind.
Jacky Seever killed 31 people and buried them in his crawl space. He seemed to be a nice and normal guy but he was capable of unbelievable cruelness.
The two detectives who caught Seever and questioned him afterwards are still haunted by Seever. Hoskins has some anger issues and almost lost his job. His former partner Loren has his own way to deal with emotional distress in a very creepy way. He really is the weirdest character. The author does a very good job in showing the mental strain of the men who have to deal with horrible things every day. What happens to you when you meet a monster like Seever and be in a room with him for days and listen to his confession? How do you live on when the hunt is over and the memories won’t fade?
Then there is Gloria, Seever’s wife. She claims that she knew nothing about her husband’s doing. She still visits him every week in prison. Is it really possible to life in a house where your husband tortured and killed people and even buried them and you hear and see nothing? Gloria just wants and always wanted to live her quiet and comfortable life.
What do you do as a reporter when the best story you ever had is now old news. Sammie was the main reporter in Seever’s case. She even wrote a book about it. But everything is told now and new things happen. Somehow her career is bound to Seever. When a copycat killer shows up and begins to murder people who were connected to Seever she sees her chance to get successful again. And she is literally willing to do everything to get a good story.
The characters are all very unlikable and flawed. They are all victims of Seever’s. When the new murders happen the hunt for a killer starts again. Hoskins got his job back and works again with his partner Loren. Sammie also gets a call from her former boss and begins to write again. All their lives revolve around Seever again.
This character driven story is very unique. It has a lot of interesting characters, even if none of them is likable. The copycat killer was a surprise for me, I had some ideas but there were a lot of red herrings. But it was a bit slow going. I really liked the unusual approach and the character studies. Seever is a very impressive killer, whose greasy presence lingers throughout the whole book. It was a solid read, unusual, but also very dark, depressing and vulgar.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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German book – German review
„Ragdoll“ ist ein Thriller, der eindeutig auf „Spaß“ ausgelegt ist. Es gibt innovative Morde und eine ungewöhnliche Auflösung. Mittendrin geht es rasant voran und man weiss nicht, wo die Handlung hingehen wird. Das ist durchaus unterhaltsam. Der Autor erfindet das Thrillergenre zwar nicht neu, trotzdem sind ihm ein paar ungewöhnliche Kniffe gelungen. Das Buch liest sich rasch weg und auch das Interesse des Lesers bleibt geweckt. Sogar die Hauptcharaktere sind relativ realistisch und greifbar. So kann man ruhig sagen, das „Ragdoll“ ein unterhaltsamer Thriller ist.
Ein wenig zu bemängeln hätte ich aber doch. Die Sprache des Autors ist extrem schlicht. Die Dialoge holpern oft und des öfteren hatte ich das Gefühl, etwas überlesen zu haben. Manchmal prescht die Handlung so krass voran, das ich nicht sicher war, alles richtig mitbekommen zu haben. Durch dieses schnelle Vorantreiben fallen manche Handlungslöcher nicht auf. Es fällt bei dem Tempo und dem Durchgehusche durch die Handlung wirklich kaum auf, das die meisten Hintergründe, Beweggründe etc. eigentlich gar nicht richtig beleuchtet werden. Rumms, so isses nu und weiter gehts. Ich habe den Eindruck, das ich trotz gelgentlichem Zurückblättern und nochmal lesen irgendwie nicht alles mitbekommen habe. Ich fühle mich irgendwie durch die Handlung gehetzt obwohl ich langsam gelesen habe und auch genug Zeit dafür hatte. Aber ich denke, nur so funktioniert das Buch. Ex und hopp. Trotzdem hat es Spaß gemacht und mich gut unterhalten. Manchmal darf es auch einfach nur unterhaltsam und seicht sein. So charmant getäuscht, das ich etwas anderes lese als Fast Food, wurde ich selten. 3,5 Sterne