Book Review: Don't Talk to Strangers

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"In the woods of Whisper, Georgia, two bodies are found: one recently dead, the other decayed from a decade of exposure to the elements. The sheriff is going to need help to track down an experienced predator--one who abducts girls and holds them for months before ending their lives. Enter ex-FBI profiler and private investigator Keye Street. 

After a few weeks, Keye is finally used to sharing her downtown Atlanta loft with her boyfriend, A.P.D. Lieutenant Aaron Rauser. Along with their pets (his dog, her cat) they seem almost like a family. But when Rauser plunks a few ice cubes in a tumbler and pours a whiskey, Keye tenses. Her addiction recovery is tenuous at best. 

Though reluctant to head out into the country, Keye agrees to assist Sheriff Ken Meltzer. Once in Whisper, where the locals have no love for outsiders, Keye starts to piece together a psychological profile: The killer is someone who stalks and plans and waits. But why does the sociopath hold the victims for so long, and what horrible things must they endure? When a third girl goes missing, Keye races against time to connect the scant bits of evidence. All the while, she cannot shake the chilling feeling: Something dark and disturbing lives in these woods--and it is watching her every move."

Don't Talk to Strangers leaves me torn. I pretty well disliked the narrator, but enjoyed the plot.

Keye Street uses simile way, way, WAY too often. She also talks about her recovering alcoholism so often, in the same repeated phrases, that it became whinging. And she overlooked some pretty obvious things (to me, anyway), although I'm happy to put that down to basic human error. 

On the positive side of things, the killer ended up being a surprise to me until Chapter 43 or so. I was convinced it was a specific person, and even when that person was ruled out, I was convinced Keye just hadn't dug far enough. So I was pleasantly surprised to be surprised!

I wouldn't call this thrilling, not until the very end anyway. It was like watching an episode of NCIS, if one person handled everything (including the boy scout 1-dimensional sheriff). It was probably more realistic than most ex-FBI criminal psychologist-based crime novels, given that Keye relied heavily on a hacker, the sheriff's department doing all the physical labor, and what seemed to me like a common sense approach to how a killer might think.

I'd recommend it for fans of non-traditional crime novels, serial killer thrillers, diversity in novels, and hardboiled/noir novels. And if you find Keye annoying, like I did- stick with it. It gets better.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,