Dr. Iris Ballard’s glory days are behind her, so when Luke Hudson, her former FBI partner and onetime lover, asks for help constructing a psychological profile of an elusive serial killer who murders single mothers and dumps their bodies in the woods, Iris turns him away. She just wants to be left alone with her infomercials, her German Shepherd, and her vodka. That is, until she gets a peek at the case files.
The media has dubbed him “the Woodsman.” But after Iris learns the sickening details held back from the press, and as she sets foot onto the scene of his latest crime, she assembles a portrait of a more complicated, enigmatic, meticulous man. Control is his motivation. He thrives on it. Soon he even tries to manipulate the investigation by contacting Iris, hoping to rattle the woman he considers an intellectual equal.
The game is on. Iris thinks she has a read on her target, enough to push his buttons, to make him lose control. But when the Woodsman gains the upper hand, Iris faces the most painful reckoning of all—with her own violent past.
Beautiful Maids All in a Row by Jennifer Harlow
Publication Date: October 11, 2016 by Alibi
I tend to stay away from crime series, especially those that focus on one particular detective (police officer, FBI agent, etc.) just because they’ve never really appealed to me. It’s possible that I just haven’t found the “right one”, which is why they often seem too cookie-cutter in their plot and/or their characters.
I wanted to give Beautiful Maids All in a Row a try because it’s a book about a woman written BY a woman – something that appealed to me since it seems that many of the more popular crime series are written by men about men. While I’m still planning on (someday soon!) starting the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo, I find I’m more attracted to psychological thrillers starring strong female leads.
There were aspects of this book that I found really appealing – the fast paced plot, the badass Iris Ballard, and the constant thrill of wanting to see how it would all end – all details that need to work in a crime series in order for it to be successful (at least for this reader).
But then there were other pieces that are typical of these types of books that are exactly the reason I find myself often disappointed by the genre – the predictable finale, the dialogue filled with snarky quips, and an awkward sexual attraction that generated several unnecessary paragraphs describing the “Adonis-like” characteristics of the “hot” male character – all things that resulted in too much eye-rolling on my part.
Despite its flaws, I appreciated Beautiful Maids for its fast pace and the introduction to a female lead who despite my prior gripes, is someone I would consider reading future books about!
Thank you Netgalley and Alibi for allowing me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!