Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Last Victim - Karen Robards

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.

I was looking at my eBook TBR list when this title caught my attention. I checked Amazon and Goodreads and it seemed the story most people either loved or hated it based on the fact that the heroine's love interest is a dead serial killer. I'm not exactly sure what surprised me more, a ghost as a love interest (a plot device I've read before and didn't find appealing) or the fact that said interest was a serial killer. So I started reading it. More because of that than the mystery to be honest.

The mystery starts with Dr Charlotte Stone interviewing a serial killer in prison. She is the lone survival of one such individuals and has devoted her life to study them. Due to that she receives the visit of two FBI agents asking for her help in a new case that might have been the work of the man who attacked her in the past.

Before she can accept the prisoner she had been interviewing is killed by another inmate and we become aware that Charlotte sees dead people as Garland's ghosts attaches itself to her and starts following her around. Charlotte accepts to help the FBI and while they go from crime scene to crime scene she has to deal  with the ghosts she encounters and her increasing attraction to Garland.

I have to say that in the first few pages I just couldn't see how Robards was going to pull that off. The character seemed totally unappealing. But then, it's like she gives him a makeover and he seems to be almost a nice guy and I can see we are going to discover he didn't actually commit the crimes he has been convicted for.

But Charlotte also keeps an interested eye in the FBI agent Tony Bartoli. To be honest I think he would have made an easier love interest than Garland. And if he is not going to be the one why does Charlotte keeps noticing how attractive he is?There isn't much closure in the romance department here (and I keep thinking it will a feat if Robards can do it with a ghost).

Regarding the mystery it was ok. I didn't guess the culprit and I suppose my attention was mostly devoted to the love triangle (or whatever you want to call it) thing.

Grade: 3/5


  1. Hello Ana!
    So...the romance wasn't solved the way you thought it should?

    I have Paradise County by this author in my TBR pile...have you read that one?

  2. Hi S,

    No, the romance wasn't solved at all. It may yet be solved to my liking in the next book I suppose.

    I think I've read another of hers but not Paradise County. Let me check...

  3. The one I've read was Tiger's Eye, a completely different style but that, to my surprise, I enjoyed too.

    You can read my review here


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