Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: The Last Victim by Karen Robards

Author; Karen Robards
Publisher: Ballantine
Date of Publication: August 2012
Dr. Charlotte Stone sees what others do not.

A sought-after expert in criminal pathology, Charlie regularly sits face-to-face with madmen. Obsessed with learning what makes human monsters commit terrible crimes, Charlie desires little else from life—no doubt because when she was sixteen, she herself survived a serial killer’s bloodbath: A man butchered the family of Charlie’s best friend, Holly, then left the girl’s body on a seaside boardwalk one week later.

The Last Victim is the first book in a new series by Karen Robards.  It features Dr. Charlotte (Charlie) Stone, a forensic psychiatrist who specializes in serial killers.  She was witness to and the only survivor of a brutal murder years before.  This experience is what helped her to choose her path in life.  Now it seems that the killer is back and the FBI wants her to help them find him.
For the most part, I enjoyed the story.  I liked Charlie.  She is smart and strong and isn't afraid to psychoanalyze herself. She has an interesting gift. She can see dead people for a little while after they have met with a violent end. This comes in handy when searching for a killer.  The mystery was intriguing.  I liked the twists, especially at the end.  I didn't see it coming at all.  And despite the fact that he was a convicted serial killer in life, I actually kind of liked Michael Garland.  He grew on me and I almost wonder if we will find out in later books if he really did do the crimes of which he was convicted. I suspect that, deep down, Charlie doesn't really believe it either.
My complaint with the book was that there were parts of it that were long and drawn out.  I have read a lot of this author's books and she isn't usually this long winded.  It was almost like she was trying to fill up pages to expand the book.  One dream sequence took 3 chapters when it probably could have been reduced to one. The romance in this book was a little unconventional and may be a bit off putting to some readers. You'll have to judge for yourself. 

The next Charlie Stone book, The Last Kiss Goodbye, comes out in August of this year.  I look forward to reading it.

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