Relentless victims’ rights advocate Jess Kimball and Jack Reacher both deliver justice when the legal system fails. Reacher waits until trouble finds him and then he does whatever it takes. But Jess pursues legal justice and draws lines she will not cross. How can she win against killers who refuse to follow the rules? Three years ago, beloved Florida Governor Helen Sullivan’s world shattered when her only son died in a senseless car crash, killing his best friend, too. Helen quickly discovered Eric’s crash was no accident and lured the killer to her son’s funeral to be caught. When the shooting ceased in the small country church, Helen believed her nightmare was over. Instead, she’d unwittingly escalated her duel with a cunning and patient assassin. Now, investigative journalist Jess Kimball is driven to find the horrifying truth. Is the Central Florida Child Killer guilty? Or is the real killer still out there? Helen and Jess together face the determined killer in a pitched battle of wit and nerve. Who will survive?
A murder thriller claimed as being the same calibre as Grisham or Child. Arguable. Diane Capri’s book is a see-saw of suspense and ennui, sometimes written with excitement and energy, other times, plodding and pedestrian.
Capri describes her story characters very well, fleshing them out so readers can empathize and relate to each. Her villain, Ben Fleming, is extremely well handled. He is described in subtle and nuanced descriptions so that a reader finds him repugnant and easily disliked but not as abhorrent as a reader would feel about Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer or Paul Bernardi.
Jesse Kimball, the heroine of the story, has her own life’s tragedy. Her son is missing for the past decade with no successful leads to his whereabouts. This could be a story thread for a subsequent novel but not much is made of it in this one. Kimball is a journalist for whom injustices are a burning itch until she has resolved them. Capri never really develops Kimball enough, never fleshing out that part of the character enough to really satisfy the reader. But Capri does develop the character enough so that she gets readers’ sympathies and support.
The other major character is Helen Sullivan who is the governor of Florida at the time on the verge of becoming a state senator. Capri does a much better job of fleshing out this character with details that make her easier to know and understand. Sullivan’s feelings and thoughts are laid out for the reader many times, make her more engaging. She is handled much better than any of the other characters.
The book is well written though some may find that the action seems to ebb and flow. Capri may benefit from reading her book aloud with her editors to see where it lulls and where it excites and learning from this reading, polish and refine where book lapses.
The ending of the book likely will satisfy most readers to tie the story together in a way that is reasonable, acceptable and satisfactory.
An acceptable read but still not quite Childish or Grishamish. Close, but no cigar.