Friday, October 29, 2010

Alice's Review: Pretty Little Things

Pretty Little ThingsSummary:  Some twists and turns in Hoffman's stand-alone thriller may leave readers scratching their heads, but the suspense ratchets up to such a high pitch that most will keep flipping pages till the end. Coincidentally, the 16-year-old daughter of Bobby Dees, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) special agent supervisor, a leading expert on discovering the fate of missing children, has been gone without a trace for almost a year. But that doesn't keep Bobby from being one of the best at his job. His immediate concern is the fate of 13-year-old Lainey Emerson, who's in the hands of a sadistic serial kidnapper known as "Picasso" for the bizarre depictions of the victims delivered to TV reporter Mark Felding. While Picasso taunts Bobby, Felding turns up the media heat on the investigation. Publishers Weekly

Review:  I normally don't read too many thrillers and man I was glad I read this one.  Pretty Little Things takes place in South Florida, centering around Agent Bobby Dees of the Crimes Against Children Division.  When young Lainey goes missing, the man they call "The Shepherd" is the one sent to find her.  There are two major story lines flowing simultaneously through this novel, the hunt for the one they call Picasso who targets young women and the back story of Agent's Dees missing daughter Katy. 

I loved the character of Bobby Dees.  Jilliane Hoffman wrote him as a flawed hero.  He seemed so real to me, focused on his job, trying to get his life back together after his own tragedy.  As a romantic at heart, I really enjoyed the connection between Bobby and his wife LuAnn.  I thought Ms. Hoffman portrayed married life in an authentic, heartfelt way.  I thought Ms. Hoffman had a way of capturing my attention and not letting it go until the last page.  Bobby wasn't the only character I enjoyed getting to know.  Ms. Hoffman managed to capture the essence of Lainey, the abducted 13 year old.  I completely believed her fear, her insecurities.  She was a beautifully multi-faceted character. 

Although I loved the characters, I thought there were a couple of plot holes that should have been addressed.   I had a few questions at the end.  I think the fact that the material was difficult to read didn't make it any easier.  Ms. Hoffman has a way with words, she didn't shy away from describing the horror Picasso inflicted on the victims.  There are some pretty sick people in this world and Ms. Hoffman delivered quite a villain in Picasso.  If you enjoy a good mystery with a touch of perverse horror, this is the book for you.  I'm sure you'll love Bobby as much as I did.  I look foward to reading what Ms. Hoffman has up her sleeve next.  Hopefully she'll bring back Agent Bobby Dees. 

Final Take:  3/5

A special thanks to Anna Suknov of FSB Associates for this great book.



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