All the Pretty Girls by J T Ellison

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All the Pretty Girls by J T Ellison

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: This is a fast-paced, American crime thriller. Lots of characters, lots of victims make for an engrossing read which will keep you on your toes, alongside Lt Taylor Jackson and her colleague FBI profiler, Dr John Baldwin.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: August 2010
Publisher: MIRA
ISBN: 978-0778303909

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We're in Nashville and a local girl has gone missing. She's a pretty twentysomething with the rest of her life to lead. Until now, that is. A gruesome find and a gruesome 'trophy' left by the killer. Who and why - are the important questions for both Taylor Jackson of Homicide and Dr John Baldwin, FBI profiler. Straight away this novel is shaping up nicely, I thought. And it gets better. The police have their work cut out in more ways than one. A decomposing body in ninety-degree heat could fell even the strongest professional. And Ellison then goes on to describe in detail how all that unrelenting heat and all that cruel humidity affects a dead body.

A nice, interesting twist in this story is that Jackson and Baldwin are more than just professional colleagues ... a good deal more. And alongside gritty crime scenes and police procedures there's plenty of domestic dialogue which makes for a lively juxtaposition.

Into the mix appears a very pushy, local television reporter called Whitney. Beautiful and a bit brassy, she has .. a pair of flawless breasts that had cost her a fortune. She thinks she's destined for bigger things than being stuck in backwater Nashville. She sees herself in glossy television studios in New York. This local story could be her big break and she's not going to let it go. She's hanging on to this murder story like a yappy terrier.

As the murder count increases, a pattern seems to be emerging. Plenty of profiling work to keep Dr Baldwin busy round the clock. Ellison gives the reader plenty of background material to most of the victims. It all makes for a good, rounded story. Ellison also has a nice touch with dialogue. Smart and sassy and plenty of one-off nicknames to keep the reader engaged.

I don't want to risk spoiling the story in any way but there's a very interesting link between Whitney and the prime suspect. It's all extremely involved and goes way back. There's also poetry quoted all over the place. Why? Is this a gift for Dr Baldwin in trying to get into the mind of a killer. Someone who is killing pretty girls on a regular basis. And as you can imagine, the whole town is now very twitchy and nervous. Whose daughter will it be next? The pressure is on.

There's lots of twists and turns to the main plot. Little sideline stories about members of the police department, for example. But, for me, the most interesting by far is the reasoning and motive by the suspect. Who is he? Or is it a she? And the fast-paced style (but not overtly so) and gritty language bring the reader right into the heart of the novel.

I think this is a very good crime thriller. Lots of blood and gruesome details but there's also a nice line in the private lives of some of the characters. A great book to read if you're after a slice of escapism.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then try Dead Of Winter by P J Parrish.

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Buy All the Pretty Girls by J T Ellison at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy All the Pretty Girls by J T Ellison at


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