The Winter Foundlings

Holy hell, The Winter Foundlings is an addictive read. Kate Rhodes takes a horrible story of a child murderer and somehow makes it worse. In The Winter Foundlings, we follow Alice Quentin, a psychologist who transfers to the high-secutrity prison to study the treatment methods for the worst criminals, outside of London. While there, Alice is hoping to meet and study the treatment for Louis Kinsella, a child killer with no remorse, when back in London a child is found murdered in a way that matches Kinsella’s murders.

Quentin must remain impartial and clearheaded as she’s pulled into Kinsella’s world and manipulated by her own mentor and premier crime psychologist.

Rhodes tells the story of Quentin’s investigation interspersed with an abducted child who’s fighting for her life in whatever way she can. The details of the murders are horrific and hard to read, but Quentin’s devotion to them and finding their killer is hypnotizing.

There’s a similarity between this novel and Silence of the Lambs, not that I’ve read that recently, but the feel is the same with a male psychotic killer manipulating a woman investigating a current crime. There’s more of a copycat killer in this novel than in the other. But it doesn’t matter. This story feels so original and is so gripping, I can overlook the similarity.

Read July 2017

The Lost Girls of Rome

Donato Carrisi’s The Lost Girls of Rome tells the story of a secret Vatican investigative department that uses questionable techniques and highly trained priests to uncover evil in the world. Someone is arranging crimes to allow victims to have either vengeance or justice, depending on what they need.

A forensic investigator helps uncover these mysteries while investigating her husband’s mysterious death. Through secret codes, her husband’s final pictures leave clues that Sandra can follow.

There’s a bit tangled together in this novel, but Carrisi lays everything out for the reader to follow. The crimes and investigations travel the world, but mostly stick to the streets of Rome.

Well told mystery.
Read January 2017

Black-Eyed Susans

Julia Heaberlin dives into a dark work with Black-Eyed Susans. At 16, Tess Cartwright was kidnapped and left for dead with several other girls, in a plot of Black-eyed Susan flowers. She’s the only survivor of a serial killer that was caught and now sits on death row.

Or is he? A team working to overturn wrongful convictions in the state with more death row inmates than any other, makes Tessa question if the right man is behind bars. She has no memories of how or when she was taken and how she ended up in a field. What she does have are delusional dreams where the other girls, never identified who she calls the Susans, try to help her navigate her life.

Almost 20 years later with a teenage daughter of her own, Tessa agrees to work with the team reinvestigating her case. The novel goes back and forth in time and just like Tessa, we’re not really sure what happened 20 years ago until the very end.

Gripping story with a surprise character developments.

Read August 2016

The Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes The Shining Girls is weird and absolutely horrifying. A serial killer that travels through time and has his victims picked by a house. There are many time loops where the killer, Harper Curtis, visits his victims years before their death and leaves a memento from a different victim from another time.

Beukes manages the characters and the time line really well and leaves hints and victims as she goes through the story. This was a fantastic read! I really enjoyed the weirdness mixed with the grotesque.

Read February 2016.

Dust

This is my first Patricia Cornwell novel, and I really enjoyed the perspective of the Medical Examiner and how they can influence an investigation by their findings. This was an enjoyable, page turning story about how Chief Medical Officer Kay Scarpetta dives into a murder investigation which seems very similar to murders for a closed FBI serial killer case, but the facts aren’t adding up. The deeper Scarpetta digs, the more obvious a cover-up was done in the FBI’s case and the more danger she is in.

Read January 2016

Aftermath

Just writing the tags for this novel makes me realize what a dark book Peter Robinson’s Aftermath really is. Almost every violent crime is represented in this novel. Very gory. Very graphic. Acting Detective Superintendent Alan Bank’s in leading the investigation into the serial killer Terence Payne’s house of horrors. Payne’s wife was found beaten and unconscious and the basement filled with bones. It seems like an open and shut case with the only complication being one of the first officers on the scene killed Payne after he killed her partner.

For this being written in 2001, not today, the topical issue of police violence takes an interesting turn in the British system. To the lay observer, it seems logical that the young police officer should not be charged, but the evidence that she killed in anger starts mounting. As does the evidence against Payne. But DS Banks compulsively investigates the murders to make sure they have the right killer.

It seems everyone has a dark past that they’d like to run away from and DS Banks starts putting all the pieces together. This was a really enjoyable and equally dark book. Robinson takes what’s dark about human nature and somehow makes it darker, in a page turning way.

Great mystery!

Read June 2015

Echo Park

Echo Park is another of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels. This time, Bosch is back in the police department in their Open-Unsolved Unit. Bosch reviews a case that he worked back in 1993 when a young woman named Marie Gesto went missing. Back then Bosch settled on a suspect but could never find evidence. Over the years, the suspect, who had no evidence against him, felt so harassed by Bosch that he was able to take out a restraining order against Bosch so that he could not be interviewed without his lawyer present.

Today (2006), an arrested serial killer has claimed that he committed the Gesto murder and as part of a plea arrangement, he would lead the detectives to the body. As always, Bosch is emotionally invested in this case and tags along with the other investigations and district attorneys to try to close this case. Of course, nothing turns out to go smoothly and soon Bosch determines that there is much more to the serial killer than the Gesto murder. While trying to uncover the truth about the 13 year old case, he uncovers a conspiracy involving murderers, politicians, and policemen.

A great, easy read with many twists and turns.

Read May 2015.