“Things looked good on the surface, but things were never as they seemed.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Aria in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
I’m always a sucker for a good serial killer thriller and I was 100% intrigued after reading the blurb of Broken Dolls. What I didn’t realize until later though that this story wasn’t a stand-alone, but actually book number four in a detective series… And I might have screwed up there. It is what it is though, and thankfully it was quite easy to read Broken Dolls without too many obvious gaps in the background information. And this is definitely not what bothered me about this story either (although it would have been my own fault in the first place). I read a lot of detective thrillers, and as a consequence I cannot help but compare them to each other. It’s one of my favorite subgenres and that is a lot to live up to… And somehow I wasn’t all that impressed by Broken Dolls. I’m not saying the human trafficking, sex industry and the murder cases on its own aren’t intriguing and make for a very twisted, disturbing read that might make you feel uncomfortable. There is nothing boring about this story and there are some shocking reveals included. BUT. I wasn’t able to warm up to the writing style or tone at all and this slowed down the pace considerably for me. I didn’t think the dialogues were all that natural and I just couldn’t get used to the writing style in general, which was really a shame. I liked the idea of undercover civilians and there were quite a few twists and turns to spice things up, although the plot itself is quite intense already. But somehow this intensity didn’t get translated well onto paper, or at least I didn’t feel myself as invested as I would have expected. And sadly, I don’t think I will be continuing this series any time soon. It was interesting to at least see how this case was wrapped up though, as the final reveals were pretty shocking.
It has been a tragic week when DC Charlie Stafford and her boss DI Hunter first find the body of an abandoned baby and are then called in to the crime scene of a young prostitute who was violently beaten until death. They are struggling to identify both victims at first and soon discover ties with the sex industry and other less than legal activities. It won’t be easy to discover the truth about what happened to both victims and stop any new crimes from happening… But they will have to try before things escalate even further.
On its own, Broken Dolls has all the signs of a potentially explosive read. The disturbing plot, plot twists to spare, a lot of action, secrets and lies… It’s a tough case and world to dive into, but without doubt a recipe for an interesting story. Something stopped me from properly enjoying it though, and I don’t think it was the fact I haven’t been able to read the previous books. I’m having the feeling it has more to do with the writing style and tone, which just didn’t work for me and made it lot more difficult to keep reading. Is it simply another case of ‘not for me’ or is something more specific going on? I’m not sure, but the fact is that I wasn’t able to enjoy the story as I thought I would.