Book Review: Dark Pursuit by Jennifer Chase

Dark Pursuit by Jennifer Chase – 3 stars

Vigilante detective Emily Stone has covertly hunted down killers and closed more serial cases than most seasoned homicide cops combined. Her exceptional profiling skills and forensic techniques, along with deductive crime scene investigations, have made her a compelling force that cannot be beat.
She has reached her ultimate breaking point and now must face her toughest opponent yet – her biggest fears.

With preciseness, the Tick-Tock Killer has taken his next child victim and promised to dump the body precisely four days later, mocking police and the community. Stone struggles to balance her inner demons and ghosts from the past, against the wits of a brutal and cunning serial killer in an all-out battle of psychological warfare.

Can Stone save the next child in time? Dark Pursuit is an action-packed cat and mouse game that will take you to dark places rarely explored.

In fairness to this book, I have not read the previous volumes in the series.

It opens with a chase/conflict that confused me at some points. Why not turn the wheel and zoom to the side instead of letting the bad guy push her car? How did Emily go down that road if there’s a tree blocking it when Rick gets there? How do they know that the bodies are dumped “precisely” four days after abduction when it’s not scientifically possible to pinpoint time of death and finding bodies rarely happens within five minutes of being dumped, in addition to abduction times likely being estimates? These sorts of details are minor and nitpicky, but add up as the story goes, straining suspension of disbelief.

The plot in itself is generally fine. I’m not fond of flashback stories, so this book didn’t do much for me. The middle parts revolve around an event in the past that causes PTSD issues in the present. There are also tiny flashbacks within the major flashback. If that doesn’t bother you, though, it seems to generally work.

More troubling, the book really needs some editing. Dialogue is stilted and awkward, sentences frequently have strange construction, word choices can be odd, metaphors are cliched, and it has the usual missing words and other minor errors. There are also POV errors, showing Emily’s internal thoughts when another character has the point-of-view, which can be confusing.

The characters are well done and seem fully fleshed with coherent motivations and behaviors. I did like the treatment of the bad guys and the red herrings. It has a lot more telling than showing, which was disappointing, but I still found the story interesting enough to see it through to the end, and that end satisfied me.

Overall, I recommend this book for people who like thrillers and can glaze over grammar and editing problems. Despite being book 5 of a series, it stands on its own. The first book is Compulsion.

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