Top positive review
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must-read serial killer thrill ride
on April 12, 2017
Dead End Girl is a tightly woven, fast-paced, tension-laced thrill ride. How do I know? Because it's 496 pages long and it felt like reading a novella. For pretty much two days I did nothing but read this book and wish it would never end. By the end of the first chapter, Violet felt like an old friend; I just wanted to hang out and watch her solve grisly serial murders forever.
Because of the serial killer and the FBI trainee with the haunted past chasing him, the obvious comparison is Silence of the Lambs—and don't get me wrong, if you liked Silence of the Lambs, you'll love Dead End Girl. But with the story taking an active interest in Violet Darger's life outside of the case, Dead End Girl—and likely all of the Violet Darger series—will also be a favorite among lovers of J.A. Konrath's Jack Daniels mysteries. At the same time, there's so much attention to detail and organic storytelling that this could easily compete with any of Stephen King's longer works. I found myself completely invested in every character, from the authorities to the killer to the victims themselves.
Because blood and gore are great, and tracking down sickos is fun, but the living aren't the only characters who haunt the pages of Dead End Girl—the victims come to life, too. The authors have presented us with people, not Doll Parts, individuals who had names, families, flaws, senses of humor, and dreams before death turned them into front page fodder, clickbait, and short appositives that left more room for sensationalizing their grisly end. At its heart, that's what Dead End Girl is all about—forcing us to reevaluate our own voyeuristic interest in death, as well as the snap judgments about people that we make every day.
Dead End Girl is an intriguing and entertaining start to what I hope is a long, long run of Violet Darger novels. If the whole series was available today, I'd buy them all and binge-read them straight through, but since it's not, I'm waiting on the edge of my favorite reading chair for the next one. If you love the serial killer genre, then this is a must-read for you.