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All The Pretty Girls (A Taylor Jackson Novel) Mass Market Paperback – October 16, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this tame debut, the body of a young girl discovered by the side of a Nashville highway puts homicide detective Taylor Jackson and her lowdown boyfriend, FBI Agent John Baldwin, on the trail of the Southern Strangler, a playful, brutal killer who likes to carry his victims across state lines before murdering them and removing their hands. Before long, however, Taylor's reassigned to the suspicious death of a prominent TV personality, leaving John struggling to keep ahead of the Strangler's mounting body count. Meanwhile, Taylor is still recovering from a near-fatal neck injury earned in her last case and worrying over her own demons—not the least of which is John's threat to marry her. The real victim is Ellison's plot, strangled by slow pacing, egregious subplots (a serial rapist, a crooked officer, a pregnancy scare) and a clichéd cast of characters: the shady Southern belle, the veteran detective pushed over the edge, the evil genius who stays a step ahead of everyone—even the appealing Taylor strikes a numbingly familiar tough-yet-vulnerable pose. Though a climactic showdown injects some much-needed excitement, readers may have a hard time getting there. (Nov.)
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Review

"A taut, striking debut. Mystery fiction has a new name to watch." -- John Connolly, author of The Book of Lost Things

"A terrific lead character, terrific suspense, terrific twists ... a completely convincing debut." -- Lee Child, author of Bad Luck

"An impressive debut that is rich not just in suspense but in the details. Fast-paced and creepily believable, Ellison's novel proves that there is still room in the genre for new authors and new cops. There's no novice showing in All The Pretty Girls. It's all gritty, grisly and a great read." -- M. J. Rose, author of The Reincarnationist

"Ellison hits the ground running with an electrifying debut. All the Pretty Girls is a masterful thriller, shockingly authentic and unputdownable. Fans of Sandford, Cornwell, and Reichs will relish every page." -- J. A. Konrath, author of Dirty Martini

"Everything a great crime thriller should be." -- Allison Brennan, author of Fear No Evil

"J.T. Ellison's All the Pretty Girls is mystery magic, a first-rate, creepy, hold-your-breath story of suspense." -- Robert Fate, author of Baby Shark

"A taut, striking debut. Mystery fiction has a new name to watch." -- John Connolly, author of The Book of Lost Things

"A terrific lead character, terrific suspense, terrific twists ... a completely convincing debut." -- Lee Child, author of Bad Luck

"Everything a great crime thriller should be." -- Allison Brennan, author of Fear No Evil

"J.T. Ellison's All the Pretty Girls is mystery magic, a first-rate, creepy, hold-your-breath story of suspense." -- Robert Fate, author of Baby Shark
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Product Details

  • Series: A Taylor Jackson Novel (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778324435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778324430
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #970,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on October 21, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First novels seem to fall into two categories--they're either outrageously bad, full of rookie mistakes, or surprisingly good, well-written, well-conceived, well- executed tales that create favorable attention for their authors. Books that fall into the first category are extremely tough reads, books that you keep hoping will get better but never do. Books that fall into the second category are distinct pleasures to read, if only because you feel so good for their authors.

All The Pretty Girls falls solidly into the second category. A suspenseful tale of an urgent police investigation into several murders committed by a depraved serial killer (who leaves the hands of his/her previous victim with the handless corpse of his latest victim), it will keep most readers engrossed for several pleasurable hours. Ellison, whose writing is remarkably accomplished for a first time novelist, does a terrific job of getting into her characters' heads, creating a sense of immediacy that is as impressive as it is engrossing. Although the book's final twist is not the outrageous surprise that Ellison no doubt intended, it still provides a highly satisfying climax to an outstanding first novel. Highly recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I stayed up very late to finish this book - it's a great read. JT Ellison has a good feel for Nashville and populates the city with fascinating characters. Her protagonists are honest, decent people who put their lives on the line because they believe in what they are doing. The snapshot moments we have with the victims make us agonize over their perils and bemoan their deaths, but even the bad guys have their own sad appeal. Ellison juggles sub-plots like a much more experienced writer - her parallel stories create delicious tension. And I found the ending touching and heart-breaking . . . after my heart stopped pounding! It's a book rich in detail and character, humor and tension, warmth and chills. I can't wait for Taylor Jackson's next case!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must not have read the same book as the Publishers Weekly reviewer. I thought J.T. Ellison's ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS was a remarkable debut novel. The characters were real, the voice was clear, and the 'bad guy' wasn't obvious. The book was engrossing to read and required no suspension of disbelief. While Ms. Ellison may not be in the MWA's Grand Master category yet, she's a fine writer who's produced a first-class book that's well worth your time and money. Mine was well spent on both accounts. I'm now looking forward to the next installment in the series: 14. You should too.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
It feels like I've read this same book about fifty times before. Police procedural? Check. Romance between cop and broodingly handsome FBI agent? Check. Escalating serial killer targeting attractive young women? Check. Mysterious tragedy in main character's past? Check. Above elements rendered in droningly unoriginal fashion? Check.

J.T. Ellison's debut is competent, well-crafted by genre standards ... and utterly colorless. The writer's voice is flat, wholly without affect, and actually becomes a complacent drag on the story as it marches dutifully through its requisite paces to an utterly unsurprising finish. As another reviewer here pointed out, the identity of the killer was tipped about midway through -- and feeling certain that I knew who it was and finding out that I wasn't wrong drained a lot of the pleasure out of discovering a new book in my genre of preference.

But, as stated above, I think a lot of this falls on the author's shoulders. Detective Taylor Jackson isn't well-developed as a character, and her quirks and history feel more like contrivances copped from other stories and less like the creation of an original, living, breathing being (like the most appealing and enduring protagonists in the genre, like Elvis Cole or Lucas Davenport). Same with FBI profiler John Baldwin, whose character also seems borrowed from Allison Brennan or Lisa Gardner or Lisa Scottoline or Lisa Unger or any of several dozen other suspense authors who travel the same territory. I didn't finish the book feeling the kind of bond with either of them that would make me want to get to know them better in the subsequent books in this series.

Also, I felt Nashville could have been more developed as a character.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A riviting thriller by J. T. Ellison, that will put chills up your back, with each and every chapter, and one shocker of an ending! It's a must-read.........After responding to a call, Nashville's Homicide Lieutenant, Taylor Jackson, knew the day was about to get far worse, as she probed the crime scene, of a murdered girl, who was strangled, and missing her hands. What was the connection? As she is joined by FBI profiler and current boyfriend, Dr. John Baldwin, into the investigation, she learns that there have been more bodies discovered, along the entire Southeast, where the killer takes the hands, leaving one hand with the next intended victim, while leaving notes of poetry with the body. T.V. reporter, Whitney Connelly, knows she should feel terrible for the victims, but truth be told, this is one case, that is going to land her to bigger things, to become a true journalist, and her eye is set on New York, the best of the best, but what she doesn't know, however, is that all her clues and tidbits of information, she is receiving on her computer, is being fed to her by the serial killer, called the "southern strangler", the very same that the authorities are looking for, and her life could be in danger, because of it. When more bodies begin to surface, it becomes clear that the connection is much closer than Taylor ever expected, with an irony in her past, forcing John and Taylor, to face the shocking revelation and true identity, of an evil and sadistic serial killer, right at their backdoor the entire time, and the sins of the father, who created him..............great thriller......thank you.......♡♡.
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