Title: The Last Victim
Author: Karen Robards
Series: Charlotte Stone #01
Format: ARC Paperback
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: ARC from Amazon
Dr. Charlotte Stone sees what others do not.
A sought-after expert in criminal pathology, Charlie regularly sits face-to-face with madmen. Obsessed with learning what makes human monsters commit terrible crimes, Charlie desires little else from life—no doubt because when she was sixteen, she herself survived a serial killer’s bloodbath: A man butchered the family of Charlie’s best friend, Holly, then left the girl’s body on a seaside boardwalk one week later.
Because of the information Charlie gave police, the Boardwalk Killer went underground. She kept to herself her eerie postmortem visions of Holly and her mother. And even years later, knowing her contact with ghosts might undermine her credibility as a psychological expert, Charlie tells no one about the visits she gets from the spirit world.
Now all-too-handsome FBI agent Tony Bartoli is telling Charlie that a teenage girl is missing, her family slaughtered. Bartoli suspects that after fifteen years, the Boardwalk Killer—or a sick copycat with his M.O.—is back. Time is running short for an innocent, kidnapped girl, and Bartoli pleads for Charlie’s help.
This is the one case Charlie shouldn’t go near. But she also knows that she may be the one person in the world who can stop this vicious killer. For Charlie—whose good looks disguise a world of hurt, vulnerability, and potent psychic gifts—a frantic hunt for a madman soon becomes a complex test of cunning, passions, and secrets. Aiding Dr. Stone on her quest to catch a madman is a ghostly presence with bad intentions: the fiery spirit of seductive bad boy Michael Garland who refuses to be ignored, though in his cat and mouse game they may both lose their hearts.
Dr. Charlotte Stone sees what others do not. And she sees the Boardwalk Killer coming for her.
This book had its good points and its bad points.
THE GOOD: I liked Charlotte (enough, at least), and I thought her ability to see ghosts was interesting. I also liked Bartolli, and the way they worked together. The murders were gory, but the premise was compelling, and the connection to Charlotte’s own life unmistakable. I didn’t even mind Garland, the dead serial killer, being attached to her. He added a needed bit of difficulty to her life.
THE BAD: Charlotte’s “relationship” with Garland is more than a little skeevy. I don’t mind her being somewhat attracted to him – handsome guys can be serial killers too – but when she acts on that attraction things get really weird.
There’s a sequel in the works, and I’m torn about whether or not I’ll read it. I think it will depend on where Robards intends to go with Garland.
- “The Last Victim starts out strong but really fades off.” — fiction vixen
- “It’s a shame because there were other elements of the story I enjoyed yet I can’t get past the romantic relationship and I can’t recommend The Last Victim for that very reason, though others seem happy to overlook it, given its average 4 star rating on Goodreads.” — Book’d Out
- “While I was fan of Ms. Robards earlier work, I’m afraid that this particular installment wasn’t what I have come to expect from her.” — Smexy Books