Top positive review
Another pulse-pounding thrill-ride with Darger, Loshak, and a disturbed serial killer!
March 22, 2018
Reading a Violet Darger novel always feels like coming home to an old friend—we hang out, we drink some coffee, we talk about her and Loshak’s personal lives, we interview victims’ families, we chase down some serial killers—all the stuff you normally do with your friends, except better. More exciting. So exciting, in fact, that I usually stupidly start reading them at ten o’clock at night, thinking I’m just going to check out the first chapter or two before bed, then realize at five in the morning my kindle says I’ve only got ten percent left to go and I can’t put it down, I HAVE to know what happens. The Girl in the Sand was no different. A flock of wild crowbars couldn’t pry this book from my hands. Darn you, Violet, always getting into trouble the second I start to think it might be safe to turn in for the night!
In addition to giving us a glimpse into the lives of our favorite FBI criminal profilers, Darger’s books also help us connect with the most overlooked element in the serial killer equation: the victim. The Girl in the Sand takes this to a whole new level, fully immersing us in Emily’s fight to survive the most feared serial killer in Las Vegas history, Leonard Stump. Emily’s no overpowered protagonist or cliched whore with a heart of gold. She’s just a woman who caught Stump’s eye, the next victim in his inevitable killing spree.
“They always say ‘it could happen to anyone,’ but in a way, I think it’s better said, ‘it actually happens to someone.’ Every awful thing, every tragedy, every nightmare—it happens to someone. A person. A real live human being.” … “This time, it’s us.”
While Darger and Loshak are chasing leads and burning cars across Vegas, Emily’s fighting for her survival and her sanity at Stump’s hands. There’s no way she can win, but she keeps fighting because sometimes just not losing is the closest you can get to victory. In a way, that’s both horrifying and inspiring…which is why I have about fifty passages from her chapters highlighted. In addition to writing incredible, action-packed suspense, Vargus and McBain toss off gems of truth like it ain’t no thang to bring the disturbing realities of the world into such sharp relief.
The Girl in the Sand takes everything the Violet Darger stories have been building on, then cranks that to eleven and blows all the speakers. There’s a point during one of Loshak’s chapters where he muses that every desperate act springs from a fatalism in the person committing it. Well, it’s probably a good thing Darger didn’t hear him think that, because it doesn’t get much more fatalistic than that climax or more desperate than Darger’s last stand. If your pulse isn’t pounding by the time the showdown with Stump ends, then you need to see a cardiologist immediately.