Review: The Last Victim by Karen Robards

The Last Victim Karen RobardsI am a huge fan of Karen Robards’ earlier works so I was pretty happy when given the opportunity to review this book.  I was a little confused by the genre because it is classified as fiction and the previous books I have read have all been romance but I thought maybe that could be because of the element of suspense in the book.

Dr. Charlotte Stone, Charlie, was the only person to ever be able to identify the Boardwalk Killer.  While staying at a friend’s house she somehow escapes the killer’s notice but is able to see him while he murder’s the mother.  From what she is able to tell the police, the killer disappears from the radar.  15 years later she has devoted her life to studying serial killers.  She works in a prison and conducts research on the serial killer mind.

The past catches up to Charlie when the FBI ask her to consult on a case that has the same hallmark as the Boardwalk Killer.  They think he has resurfaced and he has a girl hidden away.  Charlie is the only one that can get into his mind in order to save the girl.  While the FBI are talking to her at the prison an inmate is killed outside her office.  The inmate is a serial killer named Garland.

And this is where the book went off the rails for me.  At first I thought Charlie’s love interest was going to be FBI man Tony Bartoli.  When they first meet she talks about how good-looking he is and all that noise.  But that isn’t where this book went.  Apparently Charlie can see ghosts.  And when Garland, the serial killer, dies he ends up following her around.  And with that following around comes a very odd and disconcerting connection between the two of them.  The dude is a serial and he is dead.  Dead.  Why not have a connection with the hot, very alive, FBI man instead?  Granted Tony is a bit condescending and pompous but the non-serial killer part greatly outweighs those faults, at least in my mind.  I was so confused at this choice by Ms. Robards.  Maybe at some point Garland will be proven to not have killed 7 women but as of this book that was not the case.  For a woman who studies serial killer to fall for a serial killer was just bizarre.

Charlie is kind of bland also.  She waffles about everything.  That guy is hot…oh no this guy is hot…oh wait I like this one.  She doesn’t have too many clear thoughts in her head that aren’t immediately contradicted by something else.  She wants to help with the investigation but even that she goes back and forth on.  I can understand she wouldn’t want to relive what happened when she was young but she chose to go into the serial killer field.  She knew what type of people she would be studying and to shy away from the real-life work didn’t really ring true for me.

The Last Victim starts out strong but really fades off.  I wasn’t aware the book would have a paranormal aspect so that kind of took me by surprise.  The book ends on an interesting note.  It seems like there has to be a second book because while not a cliffhanger, the romance was certainly not wrapped up.  However, I am not sure if I will be checking into the next book.  Maybe if just to find out what happens with Garland?  Final grade- D+

Rating: D+
The Last Victim by Karen Robards
August 7th 2012 by Ballantine Books
Amazon || Barnes & Noble



    • Jen says

      Maybe there will be something more with the FBI agent in the future. I just don’t see how.


  1. Jamie Beck says

    First, let me say, I really enjoy reading your reviews. I know this is an older one, but I just happened upon it somehow.

    I read this book and the follow-up (The Last Kiss Goodbye). Unlike you, however, I enjoyed them. I liked the base storyline (of her getting involved with the capture of a serial killer, especially with her back story)…and I LOVED Garland. Yes, we’re introduced to him as a serial killer, but pretty quickly you get hints that he isn’t actually guilty of those crimes.

    I kept envisioning Sawyer (from the TV show LOST) as Garland (maybe that helped, too! ;-)). He was gruffly sexy, cocky but protective and, unlike the FBI guy, he really “understood” Charlotte. Maybe I was just happy to have a different kind of hero (instead of the over-the-top young billionaires, rakes turned devoted husbands, or vampires, etc.).

    She did flip-flop, I’ll grant you that, but what was happening would cause anyone to flip-flop. As you pointed out, her “hero” was a dead “serial killer.” If she hadn’t flip-flopped, THAT would be weird.

    I didn’t mind the “paranormal” element …kind of made it fun. Like you and others note, it’s kind of hard to see how they can have an HEA when he’s dead. All I can say is this is the first story where I’ve been rooting for the heroine to die…LOL!!

    Anyway, thanks for all the work you put into your blog. I really like using the reviews to help me choose among the MANY, many romance books in the market.

    • says

      Thanks for commenting and giving your opinion! I appreciate what you had to say and it illustrates what I love about books so much. What didn’t work for me, was good for you. You said it perfectly.

      I have still been curious about the second book. Part of me really wants to know who she ends up with.

      Look forward to chatting with you again!