Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last Known Victim.

Title/Author: Last Known Victim by Erica Spindler.

Read by: Susan Ericksen

Genre: Thriller.

Publisher: Brilliance Audio.

Source: Library.

Favorite character:  Captain Patti O'Shay and Yvette Borger.

Favorite quote: "People with a lot to lose fight hard to hold onto it." –Spencer Malone.

All in all: A good mystery.

Synopsis: Captain Patti O'Shay, a by-the-books cop, is assigned to the case. But with the evidence lost to time and the elements, the heinous incident goes unsolved. The perpetrator, known only as "The Handyman," remains at large. Two years later Patti is still haunted by her own personal tragedy--her husband and fellow police captain was murdered in the post-storm chaos. But when a female victim missing her right hand is unearthed, Patti prepares to return to The Handyman investigation. She is unprepared, however, for what she finds at the crime scene--the victim's bones beside her husband's police badge.
Casting aside all the rules, Patti is fearless in her quest to find the truth...because if she isn't, she could become The Handyman's last known victim.

My Thoughts: I picked up this audio book because one, it takes place in New Orleans and two, it has a serial killer in it. (No, not because I have a thing for murderers, I have a thing for scary stories.)

There are lots of elements I loved about this book. The details are excellent and I appreciate the research that the author must have conducted. There is a scene where the police explore a refrigerator dumpsite after Katrina and each step is explained how the EPA disposes of them. Some people may not like these details, but I found them very interesting. There is also lots of forensic and police work which I really liked learning about.

Hurricane Katrina figured prominently in this story as the bulk of it takes place only two years after she hit and the city and its inhabitants are still trying to come to grips with the devastation and change the storm brought. The details of Katrina also interested me. How the event caused the equivalent of 34 years of debris, how the park was flooded by the Gulf waters and the salt water killed and changed the plant life and most heartbreaking, how the people dealt with it. The novel pointed out that no one connected in the post Katrina world without sharing a storm story and people measured time according to the storm. Pre-Katrina and post-Katrina. Being from New York, I relate to this. Even to this day, people ask me where I was on 9/11 and so much has changed since that day that the phrase “post 9/11” is often used as an answer to certain questions and a reason for new rules.

The narration is good, but I couldn’t always differentiate between who was speaking, especially when she read the male character’s dialogue. A few of the male minor characters sounded alike and reminded me of Louis Armstrong.

I had a few problems with the writing. The characters kept “cocking” their eyebrows. I almost started counting how many times that word was used, but then the author finally started using “arched” or “raised.” The author uses the phrase “She said she was” quite a bit as well, instead of just having that character say “yes”. Also, every step of some acts were written out. From getting out of a car to taking a sip of soda using a straw.  I know this is very nitpicky, but these were things that I noticed so much it took me out of the story and more into the mechanics of the writing.

The book is told through several characters. Mainly my two favorites, Captain Patty O’Shay and Yvette Borger. It wasn’t confusing but at some points I wondered where the other character’s were because I hadn’t heard from them in so long. Patty is the police captain and she’s tough, smart and calm. Someone you’d like to have in your life as a role model and someone to count on. Yvette is a stripper and although sometimes she is a bit incongruous for me, she is ultimately an interesting character who is feisty, street smart, cynical and vulnerable.  I also liked her because at many times she was selfish and self absorbed and this came across as more realistic to me.  However, I didn't feel that these characters were totally original.  I felt like I had seen them before.

***SPOILER ALERT:  There were also some plot devices I questioned. The book talks of Yvette being good with investments and having enough money to live, yet being totally motivated by a “reward” she was getting for helping the police. she kept saying that she could skip town and start over. But if she was so good with money, as stated in the beginning, why would she even need that? The other side of it is that the amount she was going to be given was $50,000.00 and that is quite a large chunk of change, so maybe that is what the author was thinking. Also, I thought Yvette would have more of a reaction to someone’s death. There were a few scenes and conversations recapping Yvette’s possible motives that I didn’t find necessary.  I also feel that the subplot of two other characters, Spencer and Staci were kind of dropped after a while and then just summed up.  I would have liked to have been more with them as they resolved their issues.  Also, I really don’t want to give too much away, but the identity of the killer didn’t sit as absolutely believable to me. :END SPOILER ALERT***

Even with the issues I had, I really do want to emphasize that I had NO CLUE “whodunit!” This book had me thinking the killer was one person, then another, then going back to the first person. I really could not wait to find out the answer to this mystery.


Missie, The Unread Reader said...

Sounds like a gritty mystery that keeps you on edge.

You've got me thinking and I honestly don't know many people who cock their eyebrows often. Maybe I'm just surrounded by a bunch of bores. LOL

Jennifer said...

Living on the Gulf coast, I've been through some devastating hurricanes. I think I would enjoy listening to this.

La Toya said...

Ha! Super cool...I have yet to listen to an audiobook and would be super scared to listen to a SCARY one!! haha :)

I actually am hopping by to thank you for completing my mini-challenge with an exclusive-no passing around or making a post about it-award that you can just throw in your pile of awards if you want!! Here's the link for you to grab it: Award.

Hope to see you back around soon!

Lah @ Lazy Girl Reads

Jenny said...

Interesting about the little things you noticed like the "cocking" *insert immature giggle here* of the eyebrows. I wonder if you would have noticed it as much if it were a paper book instead. That cover is very creepy though, it would definitely make me want to pick it up. Except since I'm a wuss I would then put it right back down:)

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