I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.
SPOILERS AHEAD, EVERYWHERE, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!
8/10 - Really enjoying this. The mystery is engaging, despite how fast I worked out who the killer was. The sex, well there hasn't really been any yet, but the sneak peak we get in the prologue was promising.
I didn't really read the blurb before starting the book, so I was surprised when they caught Michael's killer. I thought it would remain a mystery, and then Kate would come back and the crime that she came back for would have similarities and she would solve that crime and save the child and solve her brother's murder, all at the same time. As soon as I read John's outburst about all the other girls who would kill for the chance to go out with him I knew he would be the killer. I figured it would have something to do with trying to get back at her, or something, but then Michael was found in the local crime family's shack with the suicidally dead killer's body beside his. Immediately my suspicions were raised as that all seemed way too easy and I thought they might find some little piece of evidence that couldn't be explained by the story that was being told by the crime scene. But no, everyone just took it at face value and Michael's murder was solved. I thought, "Hmm, maybe I read too much into that outburst, maybe my SVU and Criminal Minds marathons are colouring my judgement.". But then, as I kept reading more John kept making innocent comments or doing innocent things that had sinister motives for someone already primed to believe the worst of him. The look Magda gave him when John introduced Kate, the exchange between John, Kate, and Magda's mentally challenged son Christian, the overly generous offer to pay the ransom money. All that has lead me to believe 100% that John killed Michael and is also responsible for the kidnapping of Tricia and the deaths of the other kids/teens that have been linked to Tricia's case.
What I think happened with Michael is that John went there looking for Kate, expecting her and Michael to be home alone. Maybe he wanted to kill her, maybe he wanted to rape her, that's not clear. When he got to the house he found Michael in Kate's bedroom instead of Kate, and once he'd disturbed Michael there was nothing he could do but take him in order to keep him quiet. He probably already had Flannery picked out as the perfect fall guy who would 'kill himself' to avoid the shame of a trial, and the shack picked out as the perfect place to commit two murders with no one around to hear. If he had managed to take Kate the same thing probably would have happened to Flannery, it just would have been with a different victim. I also think (but am not quite sure) that he (or my second guess would be his father) may be Christian's biological father. I wouldn't be surprised if he had started out raping the family's staff and that's why Magda has never named the father of her child. John tells Kate that Magda had a very difficult birth and this lead to a deprivation of oxygen to Christian which lead to his brain damage. I wouldn't be surprised if the reasons for the difficult birth were due to the fact that she was having trouble coming to terms with the fact that she was about to give birth to her rapist's child, and maybe she fought the labour process, refused to push etc.
Despite my positivity that I'm right with my deductions on who the killer is, I'm still enjoying the story, and even the mystery because there is still the possibility that I'll be proven wrong. Plus I'm enjoying the process of working out who the killer, and if it turns out as I think it will, I will enjoy being right. To be continued...
9/10 - Christian's birth father is never mentioned, but I still think my idea of John being the father is quite possible. From my experience watching SVU and Criminal Minds, it's a common behaviour of rapists who believe they are God's gift to women and can't understand why any girl/woman wouldn't be honoured to be chosen by them, including their own staff. I did enjoy being right with my deduction of who the killer was, but do think that maybe Alden could have made it a little bit more difficult to figure out.
There were a few editing mistakes in the second half of the book, including:
'"Tommy," she whispered taking the lobe of his teeth between her teeth.' on page 181; and somewhere after that the pronouns his and her got mixed up, but I can not remember (or find) where it was (that's a lesson to take a note of it next time, idiot!).
Some readers may find the ease with which they are able to work out the killer frustrating and too predictable, but as I said above I was able to find the silver lining in that situation in that I was able to be right (I hardly ever pick the killer, so this was particularly exciting for me) and that was great. Would recommend to those who don't mind knowing the killer within six pages of beginning the book.
P.S. Her name! It would be fine if this had been written five or more years ago, before the show really became popular, but it's from last year, so it was a strange decision on Alden's part. She could easily have gone with Kara Beckett or Kate Bennett, but Kate Beckett? *shakes head in confusion*.