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100 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2003
Theresa Matthews never knew what hit her when she met Officer Jim Beckett. All she did know was that someone in her life finally loved her. With no complaints, Theresa did everything Jim asked of her. She kept a perfect home, cooked meals on time, and gave him a baby daughter that he appeared to love. Hiding behind his cruel facade, Theresa discovered an evil man with no soul. A killer that she was a part of stopping. After two years of running, and a new identity, Tess Williams emerges. When Jim escapes from prison, Tess find J.T. Dillon, an burntout ex-mercenary whom she talks into training her for one month. All Tess wants is to be able to protect her daughter from the monster that has sworn to return to kill her.
J.T. Dillon has his own demons to fight, and he doesn't need the responsiblity of protecting Tess. Finding his way through a hellish childhood, J.T. came out scarred, especially since he knew that he didn't protect his younger sister, Marion, from their father. Now, after two weeks training with Tess, everything with Beckett comes to head and J.T. knows that he will not lose another woman that he loves.
The Perfect Husband is an exceptional story about a pyshcopath who is not only sly, but intelligent as well. Continually escaping authorities, Beckett knows that no one will ever be able to catch him. Gardner does an extrodinary job of portraying a killer. The romance that was mixed in was intense and erotic, but didn't take away from the suspense of the story.
Pick it up!
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 1999
I enjoyed the concept of the story of a frightened woman trying to take charge of her life in preparation for a meeting with her serial killer psycho husband, but I found the realtionship between Tess and JT to be pretty shallow and odd. I find it hard to believe that a woman with such a background of violence in relationships would be attracted to a hot-headed drunkard mercenary. I also felt that although the plot could have been really great, that the characters were not developed enough for the reader to care too much about their fates. In short, a decent read but don't expect too much
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2001
Having read "The Perfect Husband," and "The Other Daughter," I was well ready to pick up "The Third Victim," when I saw it on the shelf in my store. I gobbled the book in a single night, and have to say that this is definitely of higher calibre writing than the other two.
For one, the character depth of the heroine and the villain is much more complex: I was three-quarters of the way through the book and still unsure of who I could trust, who might be the killer, and why this was all happening. Starting with a contemporary ugly reality: the school-shooting slaying of two students and a teacher, this book takes off from there and continues with a semi-manic pace throughout.
Gardner allows you into the mind of the killer without giving who the killer is away, which is a rewarding experience, but it is in Lorraine, a sherrif in the town where the shooting has happened, that the truly good writing occurs. A woman with a somewhat shady past of her own, this shooting may be about her in some way, and it's a great ride finding out just how.
The only quibble I had with the book was the occasional plot wrinkle that made me blink in confusion. There were a few passages I had to read twice to understand - not many, mind you, maybe only twice, but it did call a minor break in my reading.
Regardless of those minor stumbles, grab this book. It's a thriller perfect for those of us that like a healthy mix of mystery tossed in to our edge-of-seat-reading.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 9, 2001
With Halloween just around the corner, I have to say this is the perfect spooky novel to read during a nighttime thunderstorm! I did do that ~~ read while waiting for my fiance to get home from work ~~ and every creak and moan in the house seems to house Jim Beckett waiting to kill me! Regardless of the hauntings, I still couldn't put this book down. This is my first Lisa Gardner novel and she does have me hooked now!!
Jim Beckett is the husband every woman dreams of having ~~ or so Tess thought. When she turned him in for being a serial killer, Tess takes her daughter Sam and run. Only, Beckett finds her and leads the reader on a merry chase through gruesome murders and mind games. It is a bold novel ~~ and one that will keep you up all night just to finish it. Then it's also one that will keep you up all night listening to every creak and moan in the house. It also explores the mindset of a killer and why he married Tess ~~ and why he chases after her after getting out of prison. It's a terrifying look inside an abuser's mind.
If you're brave enough to read this, I dare you to. If you haven't read Lisa Gardner before, I highly recommend you reading this author. She is talented and will ensare you with her stories. It's a great spooky read and a perfect gift for that Halloween lover in you!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2001
I had not read any of the reviews or blurbs about "The Third Victim" before I read the book. When I was reading it and realized it was about a school shooting, I almost put it down, feeling that we have had enough of this subject in the news, I didn't need to read it in ficton.
I'm very glad I didn't leave it. "The Third Victim" is about so much more than 'another school shooting'. I promise you will never see the news in the same light again.
Another surprise for me, was the author's reference back to "The Perfect Husband". This is not a series book however, the reference is made and dropped. I was also surprised that I remembered the previous book so vividly after reading it more than four years ago. That alone is testament to Lisa Gardner's writing ability.
"The Third Victim" is a well plotted mystery with characters who are flawed, but very real. Once started this book is very hard to put down for annoying things like work and sleep.
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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2010
I never write reviews on books I love because I never read the good reviews. There's really no way for me to know if my taste will mesh with a 5 star reviewer's taste, so I find those reviews worthless. I skip right to 1 and 2 star reviews for the information I need. I can usually figure out quickly if it's the right book for me.

I almost never read a book that has more than a few 1 star reviews, but I made an exception this time. The beginning of the book had some promise, so the Kindle sample drew me in. Unfortunately, the book went downhill quickly after the sample.

Many of the issues have been mentioned in other reviews, but with all the great reviews of this book, I really felt I needed to review it honestly for the people like me who base their reading on the insights contained in bad reviews.

-- Spoilers from this point...

This book was incredibly implausible. It wasn't just because it's fiction and it's supposed to be a little bit outside of real life, but approaching a big joke. Over and over, this man who is clearly VERY recognizable (and described this way over and over) is able to walk right up to people who have been hunting him and studying him for years without being recognized. Over and over, he is given the resources to be 10 steps ahead, but it's never explained how he comes to have these resources.

How did Jim Beckett come to own the house where he was hiding? Why would he spend some of his 4 phone calls a month talking to the old lady who lives next door to his hideout just to tell her he's away in Florida? How could he POSSIBLY pose as an elderly woman? Why would he hand his daughter over to the neighbor and let her get away? He obviously didn't think he would fail to kill his wife and never come back, so he would have wanted to make sure that his daughter would be waiting for him when he got back.

What happened to JT's "manservant" and why didn't he come back? Are we supposed to assume he was fired for talking to Marion? JT apparently desperately loves Marion and just feels guilty about not saving her from their father, so why would he be mad at his "manservant" for talking to her? Why would I like a man who is having sex with a prostitute and then a few days later, is "in love" with a woman he treats like crap? Where were his redeeming qualities? Name one.

The main female character (of several names) was just... ARGH. Weak, needy, useless, etc. I can't even begin to describe how much this woman annoyed me. She's pointless -- we see nothing of her relationship with her daughter because she left her with the very people she doesn't trust to keep her safe. Honestly, I wanted to hit her with a baseball bat myself. She's known JT for all of 12 seconds and she's telling him he's an alcoholic and making him stop drinking. We're just supposed to take her word for it that he's an alcoholic, even though it's implied that he only drinks heavily on a few certain days a year... but since Tess said so, it becomes the truth and he can no longer have a beer with dinner. Plus, it's always good reading when a 36(ish) year old man takes advantage of a broken and weak 24 year old abused and sheltered girl who comes across more like a desperate lost puppy than a strong woman. She's described as a strong woman several times, but that strength is never actually displayed.

And don't even get me started on the whole Marion storyline -- why was she there?? I guess just to run fingerprints of someone who wouldn't be in any system anyway because she has no record. Oh, and to make herself a human sacrifice for no reason after she was written as someone who was rational and logical and a smart and capable agent -- all of a sudden she decided to give up her big chance to advance her career and instead go after a guy who has killed 13 people because she thinks SHE'S the one who's finally going to be able to stop him single-handedly.

We're supposed to believe that Tess is being trained (mostly they just argue), but absolutely nothing happens there. Though, magically, after a week or two of training, she is developing visible muscle tone. I wish my gym regimen worked half as well!

The bad guy is more than twice her size, has apparent superpowers, and carries a baseball bat, no one could train a 100 pound woman to go up against a man that size. She's already shot him once, but apparently she's lost all ability to shoot without flinching in surprise at the bang. I think that part was just to give them an excuse to grind up against each other for a while. ::::shrug:::: But then, this is a world where the prostitute hangs around to cut and style Tess's hair because she needs a better disguise. Because you know, Jim Beckett is probably out driving around all 48 contiguous states just looking for her and we wouldn't want him to recognize her when he gets to Arizona. Or maybe he'll get a tip that she's with JT and when he shows up at the house, he won't recognize her with brown hair and he'll just leave?

In the end, she just stands there frozen while the bad guy shoots this man she supposedly loves? I guess that training really paid off, huh? Then she apparently gets her daughter back, but that's just an assumption on my part since it wasn't actually in the book. I really, really struggled through this book. I would usually finish a book this size in 2-3 days, tops. This one took me over a week and I really had to work for it. It's getting 1 star because even if I had liked the story, the holes and inconsistencies and lack of explanation of MANY big pieces of the storyline are just not subjective.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 1999
A co-worker handed me this book and insisted I read it. Once I started, I didn't put it down until 2AM that night. This is one of the most suspenseful books I have ever read, with a villain so heart-stoppingly evil that you will constantly look over your shoulder as you are reading. It's only shortcoming is in the romance department. Although, Tess Williams and JT Dillon are sexy and strong protagonists, they seem to fall in more in lust than love and their sexual relationship is rougher than one might expect a woman who was physically abused by her father and terrified by her serial killer husband to enjoy. But this slight oversight does not detract from the overall enjoyment of this very well crafted thriller. Highly recommended!!!!!!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2001
This book came highly recommended, and obviously is well-rated by other readers here at Amazon.
I thought the storyline was cheesy and unbelievable. First, Tess is not a character I came to care for much. She tries to be so tough and mouthy, but doesn't seem to have much substance. J.T. is obnoxious and his "history" was silly. His overused cliches and boorish behavior got old fast. The sexual relationship between these two was strange and made no sense to me. I found it hard to believe that Tess could be focusing on rough sex so often considering: 1)She had been involved in such a violent relationship, 2)She was going to be soon facing her serial killer ex and was trying to become "prepared", and 3)Might possibly never see her daughter again. As a parent I think my focus would be a little different! Also, the book seemed more centered on the relationship between J.T. and his icy sister (who also just happens to be an FBI agent) who becomes involved with all concerned. In my opinion the book focused too little on Jim Beckett's past and more on the childhood past of J.T. and Marion. All in all, the book did have a good ending and the suspense did mount. That was the saving grace. I really wouldn't recommend this book at all. Sorry Lisa Gardner fans!!!!1
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2001
A horrific school shooting brings us the best and the worst in the sleepy little town. The sherriff's son may be involved. In comes Rainie, "primary cop" on this investigation. With the help of FBI agent Quincy, will she be able to prove that Shep's 13 year old son did not go on a killing spree?
I had never read any of Lisa Gardner's books before. This book is a hard to put down thriller. I enjoyed the narrative and thought that all the characters were well developed. Gardner moves her characters at a good pace and there is not alot of "useless chatter".
All of her characters are flawed in some way and this makes them even more interesting.
The story itself is quite intense and frankly, I didn't figure out the ending until the author chose to tell me.
Very good book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2011
Time is precious. I love reading and the time spent is a delicious investment. Reading, or rather, trying to read this book made me angry. I personally wanted to drop kick the heroine but I could not care less. In fact that was the problem for the H and H. I just did not care. I did not care if her ex found her and I did not care about JT. His sister sounded too sick and they all spoke in quotes. This story was lame and did not flow. The sound bites were repeated ad nausem and at page 300 I dropped it into the trash. That was the best part. If you are looking for a fantastic read, a bit of romance and real suspense, The kind of story where you are pulled in and forget where you are then read Karen Rose. She knows how to write and you will feel like you are a part of her story. No regrets.
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