The Last Victim
by Karen Robards
OK, I’d held off on this series because I am not a huge fan of serialized romantic suspense. I just get frustrated with it in a way I don’t with Urban Fantasy. That’s a personal failing of mine. But when I received a copy of the third, and presumably final book of the series, from Netgalley, I figured it was time to take the plunge. This book came out almost 2 years ago, so I am not going to do much summarizing, plenty of people have done much more thorough jobs already.
Basically what we have is Charlotte Stone, a criminal psychologist studying serial killers due to tragic events in her past. She is supposedly brilliant and the best in her field, which is how she lands a grant that has her working with serial killers on death row. Following one of her sessions with Michael Garland, a man convicted of killing 7 women, he’s shanked in the heart and dies under her hand. Which brings me to my next point, Dr. Charlotte Stone sees and can talk to the recently departed.
Now, upfront I want to say that I tend to adore Robards’ morally ambiguous or even ambivalent heroes and I have ever since One Summer, Night Magic, and Walking After Midnight. It is kind of catnip for me, that mysterious maybe he’s bad, maybe he isn’t thing. I also tend to enjoy a little crazy sauce in both my romantic suspense and my paranormal romance. So, I was somewhat predisposed to like this. But it turns out that pouring crazy sauce over a mash-up of romantic suspense and paranormal romance may just be a little too much. I can understand a bit better why Robards is dragging this out, because it is just too much ground to cover in one setting. Unfortunately, in this one, the suspense/mystery as well as the supporting characters really aren’t given justice. I’ll grant you, I didn’t figure out the villain situation until the heroine did, but frankly, I think that is mostly because hardly any time seemed to be spent on the subject. On the other hand, we spent an inordinate amount of time angsting over Michael Garland over both the ghost aspect and the serial killer aspect, how she feels about him, her confusion between her feelings between Tony the FBI agent and Garland the serial killer, her feelings about her past, her sex life with or without the ghost, the beyond and the rules about her interactions with ghosts. The living serial killer and the associated victims weren’t the story; they were the plot device for the love triangle shaping up here. And the three FBI agents, right now aren’t really characters, they are cardboard cutouts in place of characters, and I am actually hoping to get more insight into them, especially Lena.
I am giving this book 3 stars, because while I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it either (don’t judge, I already admitted my love of crazy sauce) and over time I think this could possibly be developed into something interesting and fun….that is if you like the strange and crazy on occasion.
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