Pretty Little Things by Jillianne Hoffman

Pretty Little Things coverJillianne Hoffman is said to be the next Patricia Cornwall, Kathy Reichs or Karin Slaughter, and in my opinion she has earned that accolade. I found her book, Pretty Little Things, a ripping good read.

The book starts with us in the living room of a pervert listening to a religious program on TV. He is an artist and an artiste, gathering pretty little girls for his macabre collection.

Next we switch to the bedroom of Lainey Emerson, a troubled thirteen-year-old who has posed for an online photo that makes her look fifteen, where she agrees via an online site to meet up with a boy she knows only as ElCapitan.

Special agent Bobby Dees is called in to look for Lainey when she goes missing. His job is particularly poignant for him because his own daughter, Katy, has been listed as a runaway for the best part of a year.

Matters are complicated by a has-been TV reporter, who receives from the abductor, nicknamed Picasso by the press, paintings of the murdered victims, horribly mutilated and tortured, and he seeks to revive his flagging career through exclusives on the kidnapping cases.

As each new clue is revealed, the tempo hots up, and we are taken into the mind and torture chambers of the pervert, as well as the life of Bobby Dees and his wife Lu-ann as they struggle to adjust to the possibility that this creature has their beloved Katy too.

You won’t expect the ending, and the pace and timing of each new scene will keep you riveted. A thoroughly recommended read.

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