I 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+