Finished: Mar. 23, 2011
First Published: Jan. 21, 2011 (Jul. 15, US)
Publisher: Harper Collins Canada
Genre: thriller, psychological suspense
She was easy to spot.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.
Reason for Reading: I already knew about Elizabeth Bathory and a thriller with a murder based on her crimes was one I simply *had* to read.
Elizabeth Bathory was a 16th century Hungarian Countess who tortured and murdered young women and rumour has it bathed in their blood to keep herself beautiful. No one knows how many girls she killed but figures go as high as 650.
In this book a man, Martin Foster, kills a 14 year-old girl and says it was in homage to Elizabeth Bathory. Canadian forensic psychologist, Danica, moves to England to work at the criminal hospital where the killer is being treated. She has followed his case since the day it hit the papers and is thrilled when she actually gets to start working on his team. Danica has her own thoughts on his crime though, that he may have not been working alone and that he belongs to some sort of cabal that worships the countess. At the same time, Danica receives a message from an old friend, Maria, that she also is in London. The two had a falling out several years ago when they were working together in Budapest looking for the lost diaries of Elizabeth Bathory with plans to write a book together if they found them. With Danica's strange relationships with Foster and Maria her life begins to revolve around Bathory and her clinical observations of killers may just bring her face to face with with a killer on the outside, in the real world.
I had high expectations of this book and was really looking forward to the read. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. The book is written in three points of view. The present from Danica's point of view, flashbacks to the recent past from an unknown source's point of view and excerpts from the Countess' diary. For me the book broke down with the second flashback as I figured out what the whole book was about and what the outcome would be at that point. Thus I found the rest of the book boring. Nothing really happens. There's a lot of talking and going places in the present, but no murders or crimes. The only crimes are the flashback to Foster's killing and then the diary excerpts; which are pretty gruesome reading but have no bearing on the plot, they simply are there for the violence factor. (No diaries have ever been really found.) The climax at the end is the only bit of excitement. I read the book through, though. I guess I must have found it engaging enough to do that, though I never found the book compelling or page-turning. I didn't particularly like Danica. She was weak, whiny and easily lead astray. Usually I would DNF a book like this but for some reason I read to the end. Sorry, but my final answer is ... Boring.