Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vodka doesn't freeze by Leah Giarratano

Jillian "Jill" Jackson is a Sergeant in Sydney who earned her stripes, but at the cost of alienating a number of her colleagues.  She has the loyalty of her partner Scotty and knows that he has her back - even though at times the school boy way he deals with things make matters worse rather than better.  Jill has worked hard her whole life, hiding deep inside the fact that she was abducted and raped as a child, something that comes a little too close to the surface when a paedophile is killed on a beach overlooking a pool where children swim and play.  It's not too bad at first, but when the next victim is found Jill finds her old nightmares and her new compulsions coming to the surface. 

Hunting down the killer is a low priority for a lot of cops, it's just bad guys getting what they deserve, but Jill tackles the case with the utmost professionalism - the person they are hunting is still a serial killer, even if the people they are killing are scum.  As the case progresses Jill is placing herself in danger, the paedophiles the killer is hunting are not keen for Jill and Scotty to get too close, if they do then they might discover the club that has been operating for decades in the suburbs of Syndey.  Who is the hunted and who is the hunter in this twisted game of cat and mouse - and will Jill make it out unscathed?

This is an explosive read that tackles an interesting moral dilemma - would you give your all to find the killer of paedophiles, especially if you were a victim of childhood sexual abuse yourself?  Right from the start this was a gripping read that I did not want to put down, mainly because the motivations of the killer and police seems so real, etched in detail without drowning you in the details.  Giarratano has a knack with words, drawing her expertise into the story without bashing you over the head with it - providing her characters with amazing depth without dragging the story down with the weight of too many words.  The action is deftly handled, staying within the realm of reality, and helping to ratchet up the suspense and keeping up the frantic pace of the story. 

Jill and her world is not perfect, she has her flaws and her demons, as do those around her.  This is the first book in a series featuring Jill and I can't wait to get hold of the second book to see if Giarratano is able to keep the series moving at the same momentum with the same realistic character development.  The subject matter is not pleasant, and while there is not graphic references to paedophilic acts, there is enough here that it will make some readers uncomfortable, but that said she seems to handle it with sensitivity rather than just using it as a plot tool.

If you like this book then try:
  • Voodoo doll by Leah Giarratano
  • Private Oz by James Patterson and Michael White
  • In the woods by Tana French
  • The survivors club by Lisa Gardner
  • The surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Reviewed by Brilla

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