by Charlotte Bond
This story isn’t very long, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s short, punchy and brutal when required. Its impact on me might be explained by the fact I’d just finished a gentle, thoughtful book; this novelette couldn’t be more different.
We start in the basement of an unknown man who is creating the most unique range of dolls, ones which have human hearts placed in them. This book launches us straight in at the deep end, the author cleverly crafting a very creepy introduction to our main character and his “hobby”. The intersperced speech of an unknown speaker – living victim? Ghost? – adds to the tense atmosphere.
The author limits his cast to just a few characters, meaning that even in the short space of 56 pages, I was totally invested in the characters. I thought that Daniel, a father of a past victim, was the most interesting. It is pretty obvious from the beginning who is the serial killer, but Couper writes deftly so that you enjoy the dramatic irony rather than feeling it’s a predictable story.
The pacing is good and doesn’t let up. The twist at the end I saw coming, but that was because the author foreshadowed it carefully and I still enjoyed watching it unfurl.
If there are flaws in this book, then they lie in the details. Having read several books on serial killer methods, I can’t see a successful killer taking his next victim in broad daylight from the school gates by injecting them with an incapacitating drug. Too risky, too exposed; a much better approach for this character would have been that of Ted Bundy, to lure the victim into helping him with something into his van, then going from there. In addition, given the final twist, I felt that Olivia’s relationship with Kim didn’t strike quite the right note. But these are minor flaws in an otherwise brilliant little book.
At only 56 pages, this is the perfect little book for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Go treat yourself!
Olivia Richmond is a young widow. She hasn't had much success in love since the death of her husband, however she has been finding herself attracted to Lowell Thomson. When he asks her out on a date, she is delighted.
Daniel Farrington's life was destroyed when his daughter disappeared. He thinks Lowell is the one responsible. He suspects Lowell has taken a number of young girls over the years. No one will believe him.
When Daniel discovers Lowell is seeing Olivia and that Olivia has a daughter, he sets out save the girl and her mother.