The Dancing Girls

The Dancing Girls
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, Book # 1
May 15th 2019
ebook from Netgalley
March 16, 2019 March 18, 2019

The light in her wide brown eyes dimmed as she drew her last breath. She might have been beautiful lying there on the floor, if it wasn’t for the purple marks on her neck and the angry red line on her finger where her wedding band used to be…

When Jeanine Hammond is found dead in an upscale hotel in suburban Massachusetts, newly-promoted Detective Jo Fournier finds herself thrown into a disturbing case. Who would murder this shy, loving wife and leave her body posed like a dancing ballerina?

As more bodies of married women start turning up in hotel rooms across states, arranged the same way, Jo makes a terrifying link to unsolved cases from years ago: each victim bears the same strangulation marks. But if she disobeys direct orders by investigating the killings outside of her jurisdiction, it will mean the end of the career she’s already sacrificed so much for, even her relationship.

A break in the case comes when Jo’s search of the victims’ computers reveals they were all leading double lives. Two things become clear: these small-town women had big secrets to hide, and the killer is moments away from selecting a partner for his next deadly dance. That is, unless Jo can stop him in time…

About the book

I would like to thank NetGalley and the author for my ARC in exchange for an honest review. Obviously I read it in English.

Jo Fournier has just been promoted to police lieutenant, but finds this job unsatisfactory, she prefers field work and not paperwork. When a mysterious death occurred in a hotel room of a woman from out of town, she decides to investigate even if it is no longer her task.

The woman in question was found strangled in a hotel room and apparently looks like a normal woman but she isn’t satisfied with the relationship she has with her husband. Occasional meeting ended badly? And where is the wedding ring?

I like the style of the author. In the first part of the book, we see the murder, the investigation into that murder and the killer’s thoughts. In the second part, we see the killer’s journey to the murder, how he chooses his prey and why he has become that way. I really like seeing his childhood, his mother’s  abuses that led him to become what he is and these chapters are mixed very well with the chapters in which he chooses the new victim, his method of hunting is described and the second murder is committed. In this part there is no investigation, I think only two or three chapters are dedicated to the police team that is investigating. The third part is the solution to the case with a small twist.

The book is set in Oakhurst, Massachusetts but I can’t find that city on the map so I don’t know if it’s an imaginary name or not. Later we move to New Orleans as the killer is not stationary and has killed his “second” victim here. Second in quotation marks because in fact it is his sixth victim.

The only thing I don’t understand is why the investigators say repeatedly (or at least twice) that the victims play online and no one checks what game they play? The only thing they have underestimated (and nowadays they shouldn’t) is online gaming… But despite this, the case is fascinating.

I like the fact that one of the victims has the hobby of scrap-booking and is part of Stampin Up!, a company that I know even though I never bought anything from it because it isn’t well known in Italy.

Often there are no funds to investigate and I was struck by the fact that we know that all these cases are connected since we see the murders or the killer talks about them, but the police can’t investigate properly due to lack of money. Even the FBI doesn’t participate and does not find the connection even if it is difficult to find since it is an online game. And it is clear why the victimology is different. The killer isn’t interested in the physiognomy of the victim as long as she represents his personal requirements.

I loved Diana, the “third” (or seventh) victim. As soon as she was introduced, I immediately thought that something was up. At the beginning I thought she was an undercover policewoman, but after two seconds another possibility came to mind about what would have happened and I am happy to have guessed it and I must say that I was laughing on the inside so much. Just a nice final twist.

I like Jo Fournier and also the other two on the team. They aren’t present that much because as said the book is very focused on the killer and on the second and third victims so we see little investigative part, but it’s there, it is not totally non-existent and I liked what I read. I will definitely continue reading the series.

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