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Posted July 31, 2010
terrific cautionary tale
Thirteen years old Lainey Emerson loves MySpace, especially keeping her page current. Her biggest peeve at the moment is relocating with her family, which means a new school and finding new friends.
However Lainey becomes excited when she meets El Capitan online. She agrees to go out with the boy, but conceals her date from her family. A couple days pass before her mother reports her missing, as she assumed Lainey was behaving just like her older sister, a serial runaway. Florida's Crimes Against Children Special Agent Bobby Dees leads the search for the missing teen even as he fears she is the victim of a serial killer, who uses the net to lure victims and then after killing them sends drawings of his kills to the media.
Rotating perspective between the missing teen, the agent (his daughter vanished last year) and the killer in chapters not much longer than Twitter, Pretty Little Things is a terrific cautionary tale that warns readers beware of internet social networks especially what you tell of yourself and the contacts you make. The story line is loaded with twists that enhance the growing tension, which the agent and the teen especially emote. Although the ending feels weak especially with the taut story line that brilliantly leads to the climax, fans will appreciate Pretty Little Things while wondering how to allow their youngsters to enjoy the net yet avoid stalking cyber predators.
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Posted October 10, 2010
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Thriller With a Timely Subject
I read Jilliane Hoffman's Retribution several years ago, found the book engrossing enough to mentally put Ms. Hoffman on my "must read" list but somehow have missed picking up any of her follow up books until I was sent Pretty Little Things. Ms. Hoffman, herself the parent of teens, takes a timely and concerning subject in internet preying and runs with it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
In the book, I liked the character of detective Bobby Dees the best. He was written as a complex cop, with many layers of depth, but without being a stereotype, which many characters of this type fall victim to. I appreciated his back story and, honestly, would enjoy having more books devoted to him. Here's hoping that Ms. Hoffman will feature him in a future book.
The character of Lainey was realistic, acting as a teen girl would, complete with the self esteem issues present with most teen girls. As a parent, it was frightening to read of Lainey unknowingly setting herself up as the perfect victim for such a predator, thinking she was talking to a teen boy who was interested in a date with her when she was in fact speaking with a maniuplator finessing her into leaving the relative security of her home.
The mystery was a good one, leaving me guessing until the end - - nothing frustrates me more with mysteries and thrillers than figuring it all out too soon. Well, that and heroes/heroines that do crazy, unrealistic things simply for the purpose of moving the plot forward. The killer was appropriately creepy, with Ms. Hoffman providing enough details to visualize the killer without giving away his identity.
As much as I enjoyed Bobby Dees, I was let down with the almost tidy resolution at the end of the book. Call me a pessimist but I found the trauma to add layers of depth to his character and his relationship and felt it could have continued unresolved. It didn't change the overall feel of the book or my satisfaction with the story but it did let me down at the resolution.
In all, I enjoyed Pretty Little Things and the story kept me guessing and flipping the pages. I would not hesitate to recommend it, and Jilliane Hoffman, to mystery and thriller lovers.