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THE FRAGILE ONES – (Detective Katie Scott #5)
“Please Mommy, can Tessa and I go play on the swing by the creek?” the little girl begs, pushing a blonde curl from her eyes. “We’ll stay together, and we promise to be safe.” Hours later, their mother waits anxiously for her darling girls to arrive home with a list of reasons why they are late. But the front door never opens…
When the bodies of eleven and twelve-year-old sisters, Tessa and Megan, are found at the bottom of a ravine—dressed in matching pastel summer outfits, their small bodies broken from the fall—Detective Katie Scott is called to one of the most shocking and heartbreaking crime scenes of her career.
Carefully picking through the fragile remains, Katie makes the first of many disturbing discoveries: the girls were not biological sisters. The youngest, Megan, is a DNA match to a kidnapping case years before. The tiny number burnt into her skin the mark of a terrifying killer intent on keeping count of his collection.
Her PTSD from the army triggered, Katie is left reeling as she maps other missing children in the local area. Has this twisted soul found a way to stay nearby his victims? Could he be watching now as Katie hits one dead end after another?
A wild storm building, matching a fiber found during the autopsy to a nearby boatyard is the break Katie needs. But when another girl goes missing, just as lightning strikes and the power goes out, Katie only has her instincts, her team and her service dog to rely on. As time runs out for Katie to finds the stolen child alive, who will become the next number on this monster’s deadly list?
She holds a bachelors degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing her with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.
Jennifer is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.
She was born and raised in California and still lives there with her husband, dogs and cats.
In addition to writing and consulting, Jennifer enjoys spending time outdoors, both at the beach and hiking, and engaging in some amateur photography.
Keep up with all Jennifer’s latest news at her website
Connect with Jennifer on Facebook
Follow Jennifer on Twitter
“Please can we go?” whined Tessa as she followed her mother through the living room and into the kitchen. “Please,” she said again, pushing her blonde curls away from her eyes. “I really want to go to the swing by the creek.”
CHAPTER ONE – TWO YEARS LATER – TUESDAY 19:45 HOURS
“I’m so proud of how far you’ve come, and really impressed at how hard you’ve been working to tackle your anxiety,” said Dr. Carver, her calm voice and serene expression beaming through the computer screen.
“I’m finally feeling like I’m in control and not the other way around. I can actually say that a weight has been lifted,” said Katie Scott as she took a deep breath and tried to visualize her worries and fears leaving her body as she’d been taught. She then readjusted herself on the couch with Cisco, her jet-black German shepherd, at her side.
“The chopper blades circled above with a loud whooshing noise and blasts of a wind like a category three hurricane, First she felt weightless and free, but then it was like being a doll dangling with nothing to cling to and nothing to save her. With one hand in front holding onto a rope and the other behind, there was a delicate balance that kept her body upright and sent it downward. Jerking and moving in disharmony, Katie made several attempts to keep herself steady and to get to the ground as quickly as possible. She also made a fatal, rookie mistake – she looked down. Even though it was a training area, it looked like she was atop a city skyscraper and would soon be crushed at the bottom…”
“Katie bowed her head for a moment of silence. ‘Rest in peace, little fragile ones, and may angels carry you under their wings to heaven.’ She said a private prayer, then sat in silence, gathering her thoughts”
“But the front door never opens…”
This is another of those detective series I kinda wish I had followed from the beginning, even though this story worked more than adequately as a stand alone. Author Jennifer Chase, did an amazing job at filling in the backstory as we went along and I never really felt short-changed on that front, however Katie Scott is such a complicated, emotional and damaged character, that I would have liked to have got to hear her story in her own words.
This ‘read alone’ case opened with a prologue which I knew in my heart of hearts, was setting a scene which was going to end badly. The investigation moved along at a fair old pace, although there were a couple of ‘What? – Really?’ moments. The ending as it was presented, was quite neatly tied up, although I was left with more than a few questions about the efficacy of this particular policing district. Oh! and the fourth thing you need for a good series thriller to succeed, is that the main protagonist lives long enough to fight another day, which thankfully Katie does, although this time it was quite a close call.
There were quite a few red herrings carefully placed to snare the not so wary reader and I admit that I got caught out by a couple of them, before I managed to work out roughly what was going on, although I have to come clean and say my suspect list was down to two names and I picked the wrong one!
As with any story which has the plight of children as its central theme, this gripping and very disturbing, multi-layered story, is rich in atmosphere, has an air which is constantly crackling with tension and sense of urgency which has everyone pulling out all the stops to solve. The chapters are just the right length to create natural deep breath breaks, in what is otherwise a fluid, fast moving, intense and confidently written storyline. The descriptive and observational narrative and dialogue, offered both a good sense of time, and a clear commentary about the locations the action took me to. There are no wasted words in this matter of life and death race against the clock.
The characters, although on the whole well developed and drawn, were definitely divided into two distinct camps. Those I was rooting for from the very start and those I loved to hate right from the get-go and the author did a great job at evoking those emotions, with her descriptive and highly visual narrative and dialogue. They were mostly quite open, relatable and fairly easy to engage with and invest in, with some good interaction and synergy between each other and also with me, the reader. However, there were one or two which were really multi-faceted and not altogether genuinely believable, so they were well and truly in my sights as potential ‘baddies’ right from the first time I met them, although I did trip myself up once or twice. Katie was clearly the character with the most emotional baggage, as it would seem, are so many other fictional detectives. Clearly her time in the armed forces and events she had witnessed during her various overseas tours of action, had taken their toll on her emotionally. It seems as though each of her police cases to date, has manged to push one of those warning buttons which have triggered some quite intense and potentially damaging responses. She is fighting her own personal battle to make the transition to civvy street a success and she has some very special people in her life who really want to help her succeed. Most of them are of the two-legged variety, however Katie’s four-legged friend, Cisco, deserves a special mention as the star who stole the show. As double acts go, they don’t get any better than this and I would really like to see Katie flourish and meet her full potential in her new career.
A complimentary kindle download of this book, for review purposes, was made available by the publisher, and supplied by NetGalley
Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.
I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 4 out of 5 stars!