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Spoilt Paperback – July 31, 2010
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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About the Author
Joanne Ellis is a prolific Australian writer who won the Night Reading / Publishing 'First Chapter of the Month' in May-June 2010 with her first chapter of 'Spoilt'. Other novels written by Joanne include: 'Twisted Fire', 'Womaniser', 'The Rookie', 'Charlottesville', 'Control' and 'The Mystic Garden'.
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First of all, if that's the way a police investigation is run in her experience then I never want to live where she lives, because the only excuse for such a lukewarm investigation is if the case involves a nonviolent burglar stealing plastic lawn chairs from front porches while no one is home. This author has no idea what kind of a monster she created as her killer, what his escalating behaviors meant or what real police would do when confronting this kind of criminal.
Her killer chooses victims close to his own age, carves nasty messages onto the front of his victim's bodies while they are still alive to feel the pain, leaves their dead bodies face up in grimy public areas where they're easily found, and is comfortable choosing and disposing of victims in an area close to where he lives and works. Those things scream of extended experience, confidence, arrogance, and viciousness, all of which take time to develop. This killer thumbs his nose at the police and public, his attitude is "I'm right under your nose and you have no idea who I am or how to catch me, you're powerless to stop me" and would most likely have sent some communication to the police saying just about that. He would have to have been in operation for a long time to develop his confidence and arrogance; there would be bodies from similar unsolved murders elsewhere, which at a minimum would mean a multi-jurisdictional task force. One such murder is horrifying enough, two establishes a pattern, and there would be a lot of public panic at that point. People would be calling the police, their Governor, Mayor, D.A.s, and whatever other representative they could find the number for nonstop, demanding to know what they were doing to find the suspect and keep them safe. Not to mention elections are won and political careers made by solving this intense of a crime, so police officials would be jockeying to get in front of T.V. cameras for press conferences declaring, "I'm your Big Daddy, I'm going find this guy, stop him and put him away for the rest of his life." There would be no time off, no going home for a romantic weekends (to sleep with a witness) after two women were murdered and another was missing. In reality, they'd be working nonstop to find both the missing woman and the suspect by that point.
It would almost be refreshing to skip the political jockeying if it meant any actual police work was going on. So what happens in this story? Her characters seem to have adopted a "sucks being them" attitude towards the victims and simply go about their lives as usual. No public panic or undue concern from anyone, no communications to the police from the killer, no task force or special investigations, no political jockeying, it's just life and investigations as usual. Lucas, the Super-Cop Hero of this story, is so flustered when he meets Chelsea as she's reporting her roommate missing that he doesn't get her name, then starts sleeping with her right after it's determined she's a witness in a brutal murder investigation. Although this would damage his credibility in the event of a trial, potentially letting a brutal murderer go free, that's OK, because you should never let anything curtail your romantic pursuits because love conquers all, right? Then with a vicious murderer on the loose, her roommate a victim, several other women slain and missing, Chelsea starts to get threatening calls saying "you're next" and she dismisses them as prank calls. Really? When she finally tells Lucas about the calls he, the crack detective that he is, becomes so concerned that he...calls it in and gets her protection right away, right? Nope, he tells no one, goes straight home and takes a shower in preparation for their big date. Of course he does and why shouldn't he? Isn't that what his boss just told him to do? "I don't want you working the weekend Lucas; you just go home and do what you do..." Yes, Lucas go ahead, let someone else worry about the third missing woman after two women have already been brutally murdered another is missing and you're sleeping with a witness who's also a target. That missing woman's probably a goner anyway, right? Oh, and let's go ahead and take a targeted victim home to meet your vulnerable little niece and nephew, there's a jolly idea.
Finally it happens, her sister's been shot, Chelsea's kidnapped, and Lucas and the police are so concerned that they...make sure to get a full eight hours sleep so they can be fresh as daisies when they're sitting on their butts at the police station wringing their hands the next day. Seriously? Chelsea was the fourth victim that they know of, she's been kidnapped, likely being tortured and about to be murdered at any moment and that's the time the author decides to follow professional ethics to the letter? Right then was the appropriate time to push the envelope and enter the suspect's house under shaky pretenses, when life, not romance, hung in the balance.
Blithely shrugging and declaring "well it could happen the way it was written" is childish and naive. This story does sound like a teenager wrote it, and I can't decide if she watches too much Lifetime T.V. or not enough. The murder mystery and the romance fell as flat as the dialogue. But kudos to her for doing something other than running around, "groaning" with some sweaty boy, picking up an STD or getting inconveniently pregnant. All she has to do now is some actual research on police work, psychopathic killers, real relationships and dialogue skills and she'll be ready to crank out her next novel.
In the end, I can't stand that his attraction for her prevented him from doing his job right. He *forgets* to ask her questions about the investigation bc he's so wrapped up in her.... MAJOR TURN OFF. And then ***spoiler*** shes kidnapped and his gut tels him where she is, but all the sudden work procedures prevail and you don't go get her? That's some love. ***end spoiler*** I started off with the impression that this was a strong detective battling his demons and underneath itching for some sort of companionship, but then he turned into this guy readily able to love, then he's distant...and everything just happened to fast for it to be inline with my initial impression of him.
In the end...not well written.
I'd like to say that with some professional editing this book might have been saved but I'm not sure it would. Truth be told the author has no idea what procedures the police would be using or even the basic psychology of a serial killer. There's a reason most well known authors spend months researching for their books. *sigh*
This is just another in the long line of flops in the Kindle Bargains/Freebies. I'm about to stop reading them.