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Pretty Little Things Hardcover – September 7, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 445 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Some twists and turns in Hoffman's stand-alone thriller may leave readers scratching their heads, but the suspense ratchets up to such a high pitch that most will keep flipping pages till the end. Coincidentally, the 16-year-old daughter of Bobby Dees, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) special agent supervisor, a leading expert on discovering the fate of missing children, has been gone without a trace for almost a year. But that doesn't keep Bobby from being one of the best at his job. His immediate concern is the fate of 13-year-old Lainey Emerson, who's in the hands of a sadistic serial kidnapper known as "Picasso" for his bizarre depictions of his victims delivered to TV reporter Mark Felding. While Picasso taunts Bobby, Felding turns up the media heat on the investigation. Hoffman (Plea of Insanity) paints a scary picture of sexual predators, vulnerable teens, and the shared hunting ground/playground that the Internet provides.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

They are, indeed, pretty little things: naive, vulnerable teenage girls who have gone missing, some lured by Internet predators, others runaways or throwaways. One of them is Katy, the daughter of Bobby Dees, a high-profile investigator for Florida’s Crimes against Children division. When Bobby begins to investigate the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl, his own loss threatens to overshadow his duty. Thanks in part to goading by an annoying reporter, Dees’ instincts eventually kick in, and he takes off in pursuit of a serial killer whose paintings of mutilated victims earn him the nickname Picasso. Could Katy be among the psycho’s trophies? The thought pushes Dees to the edge, while Picasso continues to kill. Hoffman, who doesn’t spare the gore, delivers some page-turning action here, incoporating an emotionally charged view of the enormous problems faced by missing teens (and those who hope to find them). There are some bumpy patches in the narrative, but this is still entertaining and suitable both for fans of conventional mysteries and for those who prefer high-adrenaline thrillers. --Stephanie Zvirin
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vanguard Press; First Edition edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593156073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593156077
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (445 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,298,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lainey Emerson thought she'd met the perfect guy. With no worries other than whether he'll like her in person, and whether he'll catch on that she's only 13, she sets off to meet Zach, a blond senior from a local high school. What she gets instead is everyone's worst nightmare. Two days after Lainey disappears, Bobby Dees, an officer with the Crimes Against Children Squad is called in to investigate. Though all signs seem to point to a runaway, Dees suspects the case may be more complicated.

I thought Hoffman's latest was a super intense and suspenseful read. Definitely recommended for thriller fans.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A parent's worst nightmare! There were already more than enough ways for predators to prey on our children and then along comes the internet and social networking sites. "Pretty Little Things" is a book that shows us just how easy it is for adults to fool our children into believing whatever the predator wants them to believe.

Hoffman writes a very believable story of a serial killer that targets young girls. The law enforcement details read as pretty darn genuine (I understand the author used to be an Assistant State Attorney in Florida plus did other work with law enforcement so I would guess that experience helps put the stamp of genuineness on this book). There are lots of twists, turns and misdirection - all done well. Pretty gruesome in spots but fits with the story. It reads like a script for "Law and Order: SVU" - one of my favorite TV shows. I will be looking for other of Hoffman's previously published books because I thought this one was done so well.
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Format: Hardcover
Pretty Little Things by Jilliane Hoffman

This book is not for the faint of heart. It deals with disposable children. Children who have been abandon by society or have abandoned society. Kids who have run away or have been snatched from all walks of life. Internet predators are specifically addressed and this is the story of Special Agent Bobby Dees and his efforts to save these children.

This was an excellent mystery. It was still hard to read. The predator was despicable and wholly frightening. What was also frightening was the Internet naiveté that kids demonstrate even as the Internet matures. Simply log on to any of the social networks and see the inappropriate postings that could lead to devastating consequences. I would like to see the book used in a middle school reading program led by the guidance department. It's intensity could be construed as a "scared straight" type of book but it might serve to enlighten kids to some of the dangers they face in an electronic environment.

Do you know that your kids DSi or xBox can communicate to other online users and that neither they or you know who they are REALLY communicating with?

Parents should seek out and read this book. It isn't necessary to overact but simply the act of reading this book could help to open some naïve eyes, in both parent and child.

I highly recommend the book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
One thing that Pretty Little Things did that most mysteries tend not to do is keep me guessing right up until the end. Seriously, the identity of the killer totally took me by surprise. I think that's probably because I was watching a Criminal Minds marathon prior to reading this and the UNSUB tends to be someone not introduced at all. I sort of expected that to happen in Pretty Little Things (and really would have preferred it). So, good job to the author for keeping me guessing.

I'm easy when it comes to mysteries. Give a good page-turner, with good characters, that's not too predictable, and non-shoddy police work. 3 out of 4 isn't bad. But I had a hard time swallowing the blatant unprofessionalism that went on in regards to Bobby Dees being allowed to pursue this case as long as he did. Not going to spoil it as to the why, but still, I found myself thinking "Yeah that would NEVER happen". Another thing that bothered me was the pat, wrapped all neat and tidy in a bow ending. I just didn't buy it. It was a little too neat.

All in all, I thought Pretty Little Things was an okay to good thriller. It was a page-turner and a very quick read. I liked it enough to put Jilliane Hoffman in my "authors to read" list.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thirteen-year-old Lainey might as well be invisible in her own home and new school. Then she meets a boy online, or so she thinks. After their first "date", she disappears. Everyone assumes she's a runaway, but Florida Agent Bobby Dees isn't so sure. And his own teenage daughter went missing years before and has never been found.
The first chapters of PRETTY LITTLE THINGS reads like a ya novel, complete with text message speak. While I liked and empathized with Lainey, I never felt scared for her, even though her situation was dire. I didn't the tension I would expect in a well written thrilled. Hoffman uses a a lot of "telling" and "explaining" rather than showing the action and letting readers feel the suspense organically. She could have edited out 50-100 pages.
PRETTY LITTLE THINGS isn't a terrible novel, but it is predictable and slow paced.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a story about children and young girls who have run away from home or been abducted and never found. Special Agent Bobby Dees is in charge of trying to track and find these young girls and his job is made more difficult as his own daughter is also missing, believed to have run away with her boyfriend. The story details internet predators and the way they lure these young girls into their clutches which is frightening when you consider these things are happening in the real world today. This particular predator is sickening in his twisted mind and what he does to the young girls.
I gave this story three stars because for me there were too many long descriptive passages which could have been shorter and made the story more succinct, too much jumping around with the characters and then the ending was in contrast so sudden and clumsy it left me wondering if I had missed a page.
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