ORDER A COPY: The Perfect Death (John Stallings)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: February 1, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Through him, they’ll live forever. His creation will be a testament to their perfection–and to his skill. Each victim has a rare innocence, worthy of being immortalized in his macabre work of art. A beauty worth killing for. . .
Detective John Stallings can’t avoid getting drawn into his latest investigation. The parallels between the Jacksonville girl who just disappeared and his long-vanished daughter make every discovery a potential clue in his own painful mystery. Then one by one, bodies are discovered–all young women, strangled to fulfill a madman’s obsession. . .
What began as a missing persons case has become a desperate race to find and stop Stallings’ most ruthless adversary yet. And the closer he gets to the answers, the more there is to fear–from a killer whose bloodlust is growing by the day, and a truth too terrifying to face. . .
Missing Persons Det. John Stallings and his partner, Patty Levine, are trying to a missing teenage girl. Homicide Det. Tony Mazzetti and his partner, Sparky Taylor, are trying to find who strangled a woman and dropped her body in a dumpster. When their cases collide, all they can do is hope their missing girl isn’t another victim of the murderer.
The killer is working hard to finish his art project, confident that the police won’t stop him until he has completed his masterpiece.
Can the police put together the pieces of the puzzle, none of which seem to fit together, before the killer completes his work?
This is a compelling mystery and as we watch the killer select random victims, with no set pattern, we can only hold our breath and hope that the police can find the key to catch the killer as the bodies pile up.
My only real complaint about this book is the number of point of views that we follow during this story. We have the point of view (POV) of (1) John Stallings; (2) John’s partner, Patty; (3) Tony Mazzetti; (4) Yvonne Zini, the squad Sergeant; (5) the Killer; and (6) occasionally the victims. At certain points, with some of the POVs only lasting a page or a page and half before switching to another POV, it made the story very choppy and slowed down the pace of the story considerably. There is one section in the middle, where these short bursts of story worked well and certainly built the tension, leaving quick cliff hangers. (I was trying to find someplace to stop so I could go to sleep, and I just couldn’t stop.) Some sections did go on for a while with just John and Patty or with Tony and Sparky for longer periods, and that flowed nicely. Unfortunately, the shorter POV sections where tensions were not really being built up, just made the reading a little jerky.
This certainly is a good story for anyone who likes a crime drama.
Received ARC courtesy of Kensington Books. Thank you.
(This was one of the many short sections I was referring to. It only consisted of a page)
A few minutes later Stallings was looking into the dark eyes of Liz Dubeck while Patty politely waited in the car and made a few phone calls.
Liz said, “Any luck on finding the girl?”
He shook his head. “That’s why I’m here. See if you remember anything.”
“Nothing new, but I could ask around. People might by more inclined to talk to me than a big, scary cop.”
“You think I’m scary?”
“I don’t, but others might. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people in the neighborhood and can ask without raising any eyebrows.”
“That’d be great. I’ll be on my cell.”
Liz paused, smiled and said, “Why don’t we discuss it over coffee? Maybe tomorrow morning.”
He froze, surprised by the offer.
“I’ll come over near the sheriff’s office. Is there some place you like in particular?”
He stared at her unable to speak.
Liz said, “How about Junior’s by the Mobis Tower. Everyone seems to like it and it’s far enough away from your office that we won’t run into anyone if that makes you more comfortable.”
He slowly nodded.
“Maybe you’ll regain your power of speech by then.”
He nodded again and headed out to Patty in the car.