I will warn you here and now that there is no way that I can keep this spoiler free. That's just not possible in the case of this review. So please, only read this if you have already read the book, or if you wish to be spoiled.
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Ever since losing a loved one to a killer, Lizzy Gardner has become full of anger and hatred toward those who walk free from their crimes. She chooses to take it upon herself to bring justice to those who have slipped through the system's cracks, carrying out her own vengeance.
With her assistants, Lizzy tackles some of Sacramento's worst offenders, checking them off her list. But she may find herself stumped when a prolific new murderer, dubbed the Sacramento Strangler, begins dropping bodies like flies.
Rating: 4 stars
If you followed me from the beginning, you'll remember that I put up a review for Almost Dead some time in January, though the book itself was published on February 3rd. Now, 6 months later, T.R. Ragan has the final book available for review and it's being published next month! I have to say that I'm quite impressed with how quickly T.R. Ragan finished this and had it published. I know that a lot of fans of the Lizzy Gardner series will be thrilled, and though I'm not exactly part of that group of people, I was excited to see how the series would end and how the storylines that were unresolved in the previous book would be resolved here.
Right off the bat, I was slightly frustrated with the plot and the characters. This picked up with a similar scene to how Almost Dead left off, which made me frown immediately. The opening scene just reinforced the dislike I had for the characters of this series, even though I've really only read the 5th and 6th books.
The beginning of the plot was okay, I didn't really like it, but it was interesting enough to keep my attention and keep me reading. The only thing that really interested me from the beginning was the Sacramento Strangler. The way that he was introduced made me instantly like him more than anyone else I had already read about. His storyline was really the only one that I looked forward to reading about and finding out more of. And that, I think is kind of sad. It seems that in both this book and in Almost Dead, my favorite character has been a killer. Maybe that's because I haven't read this series from the beginning, or maybe I'm just twisted enough to enjoy reading about the killer more than the main character, but I keep finding myself completely uninterested in Lizzy and her co-workers.
One thing that I find with the book is that I'm a lot more interested in the killers than anyone else. I've enjoyed reading about the last book's killer and this book's killer more than I've enjoyed any other part of the book. I find them to be more complex and attention-grabbing, which in turn means that they're basically the only reason why I keep reading the book. It's entirely possible that I'm incredibly twisted for liking them more, but I think that's just because the rest of the characters fall flat for me. The other possibility is that T.R. Ragan just writes incredible villains that appeal to me more.
Sometime after the halfway mark, the book really picked up for me. The plot became more interesting, the characters were finally doing things, and I felt like the overall feeling of the book improved. I began to invest myself more and more into the story, feeling like I needed to know what was going to happen next. Also, this was the part of the book that made me rethink my opinion of the series and made me actually want to get into the first four books of the series to see how it started.
The ending was actually really satisfying and bumped up my final rating for the book. However, I did still find myself wishing that the killer's unresolved storyline from Almost Dead had been resolved before the series ended. I would have liked to see what became of the killer, even if it was from the previous book. It just left me feeling like I was lacking something in the resolution.
I just don't like Lizzy, okay? I think she's ridiculous. Yes, she lost her fiancé and is berating herself for the life she chose when he was alive, but honestly, her behavior in the previous book and in this one just makes me think that she's heartless. She doesn't really care about Kitally or Hayley unless they're in immense danger, she acts like she has the right to go around dealing out justice as she sees fit, and she's just behaving so ridiculously for an adult woman. For someone who is supposed to be observant, she's actually seems to be pretty clueless and I thought that her running the investigative agency was kind of a joke since she never really did anything. In the end though, I think I was able to muster up enough emotion to feel happy for her and to hope that her life wouldn't take any more turns down a bad path.
I never know how I feel about Kitally. I feel bad for her at times, and then the rest of the time, I'm kind of indifferent. But I think she might be my second favorite out of Lizzy's co-workers/assistants.
I don't like Hayley either. She's messed up in a completely different way. She knows that she has problems, but she just sits there going "Oh yeah, I have problems and I'm messed up, I know it. Am I going to do anything about it to help myself? Nope." I mean, I've known people like that in real life, and considering the fact that I can't get along with them, I just don't see how I can like a character like that. Her attitude and the things she does just makes me want to punch her in the face. Honestly, I really wish she would just get over her insanely twisted hero complex and get some sense knocked into her.
Tommy is most definitely my favorite out of all of Lizzy's co-workers/assistants. He's nicer and helpful and seems to be a genuinely good person, which is a nice change from the other three. I just like him better than everyone else, including Lizzy herself.
The Sacramento Strangler was the most intriguing character of the book. There was so much to discover and learn about when it came to him, and I found that his mindset, the way that he saw things, was probably the most intriguing of all. Everything about him just grabbed my attention and kept me reading the book, simply so that I could find out more about him. I can actually say that if it wasn't for him, I might not have finished the book.
4 stars and I would say that judging from the two books that I've read in this series, I do recommend this to people who like Mystery & Thriller series. I think it's pretty good, even if I do have some of my own problems with it. And yes, I do plan to read the first 4 books in the series to give myself a better understanding of the characters and also to be able to know how I feel about the series as a whole.
Thank you to NetGalley for hosting this on your site. Thank you also to Thomas & Mercer for approving my request to read this in exchange for an honest review.