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I have just finished reading this book so thought I would give it a review as I really enjoyed it! I took it on holiday with me and every spare minute I had I was reading, I couldnt put it down! I really only read crime and thriller books as other types of fiction are too slow moving and I lose interest!
This is the first Alex Kava book I have read, although I believe there is one that comes before this. Having not read the book before did not matter as it explains everything that is relevant to this story.
First of all, the book dives in at the deep and with a priest being murdered in an airport restroom. Then the deaths begin to escalate and more people are being killed.
There are two storylines, one based on Gwen Patterson, the psychiatrist who believes one of her patients is beheading women due to abuse in his childhood.
The other storyline is where Maggie O'dell who is an FBI profiler is trying to build a profile for a serial killer who is executing priests in public places.
.....but soon we find out the two cases may not be entirely seperate!!
This book is a great read for anyone who enjoys thrillers, and I will definitely be reading the rest of her books!
This books retails at £6.99 but I bought it in Tesco for £2!
A necessary evil is the fourth novel featuring FBI profiler Maggie O'DEll, it is Alex Kava's fifth novel in all.
In this novel we return to a character from the very first time we met Maggie O'Dell, the sinister Father Michael Keller. Father Keller is a rather dodgy character who has managed to kill young boys but through manipulation pin the blame on others, he's skilled at getting under the skin of the more susceptible members of his flock. However, at the end of the first novel Maggie raises doubts about him and he flees to South America and no-one not even the catholic church knows where he is.
In this novel, he is in a small village in Columbia when he gets emails from a mysterious source, those emails then combine with the brutal slaying of a priest in an airport toilet. The investigation into the priests murder brings the FBI and then Maggie into the case.
Maggie is a pretty thirty something divorced women who loves her job profiling for the FBI, however, she has demons, her mother was an alcoholic through her childhood and her father died heroically doing his job as a fireman. However, certain truths over her saintly father have rather shocked her and she empathises a little too well with the serial killers she comes across, she's intense impulsive and driven. She's also attracted to a former Sheriff called Nick who she met in the first novel and was the lead investigator into the boys murders.
RJ is very much Scully to O'Dells Mulder, also divorced he has a teenage daughter to contend with along with his dream job as a field operative doing profiling for the FBI. He brings a touch of reality to the novel, he's steadfast and reliable but is more than just a striaght man for Maggies brilliance.
Dr. Gwen Patterson
A brilliant psychiatrist whose in her forties and is a friend of Maggies, she's attractive and attracted to RJ, a fact both are having trouble acknowledging. She fascinated by the criminal mind and in the novel is getting worryingly personal meesages from someone with an inside track on the murders.
The murderer, as with all Alex Kava's novels the murderer is a character, we get an inside into his twisted logic and what he plans next. These sections are by there nature short and sharp and keep the story rolling along.
Maggie's handsome ex-sheriff now back to his first love, the law. He's tall, good looking but has angst over his feelings for the lovely FBI profiler. He's also out of the shadow of his domineering father.
The novel soon develops into a game between the killer, Father Keller, and Maggie. The novel gets embroiled in a story about internet chat rooms, priests abusing the boys they look after and the control the killer develops over Father Keller and Gwen Pattinson. There are strong emotions in the novel which covers such things as child abuse, and child serial killing. These aren't covered explicitly and the reader is more a voyeur than participant.
The book is written in a style reminiscent of such writers as DAn Brown with fairly short chapters and a rolling high speed script but the writing to tell the truth is better quality than Dan Browns work. The chapters tend to be short and punchy but even here the author gets a fair bit of character definement and development, she takes time to explain as she goes along and doesn't rely on improbable plot twists.
In general, this is a decent novel without perhaps reaching the heights of some of her earlier novels, you get the sense that you've read the novel before and the author is rather re-hashing rather than creating something totally new.
- Introduction & Story -
I feel I should perhaps explain why I came to read this novel. I work in a college library and earlier this year we decided to finally offer a small fiction library and we asked for donations to make up that fiction library.
Anyway we got inundated with novels and we ended up storing tons of novels and other general interest books, so fast forward to a month or so back and we really needed to get rid of alot of them to make some space, so we offered some of them for a 50p donation to Children in Need, only that didn't get much response and so for the last few weeks before the college closed up for the holidays, we offered a couple of piles of novels and kids books for anyone who wanted to take them, to give them to a good home. So when I didn't have much work to do, I decided I'd have a good root around and see if any of the books interested me and I ended up picking out 4, of which this is of course one of them.
The front cover is quite bright and striking, with the silohouette of a cross against a bright yellow background. I had no knowledge of this author but having a quick skim-read of the back cover, that told me that its an American crime thriller novel involving an FBI profiler called Maggie O'Dell and that the story is about a serial killer that kills priests. This intrigued me enough to decide it might be worth a read, so thats why I took it and I decided to give it a read last weekend. Read on for more information.
- More Basic Information -
Here's some basic information about the book for anyone interested:-
Pages - 490
Publisher - Mira Books
ISBN - 0 7783 0107 9
Price - RRP £6.99, you can buy it new for £3.46 on Amazon UK or for £3.45 on Play.com or used for £2.80 on Amazon UK, or for £1.95 on Play.com etc.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
I found that this was an easy novel to read, there wasn't too much complicated criminal or scientific jargon and although I hadn't read any of this authors previous novels (as the main character, Maggie O'Dell, features in Alex's other novels), the novel explained everything well so that I didn't feel too confused having no prior knowledge of the different characters that feature in it. The chapters in the novel are particularly short, alot of chapters are ten pages or less in length, which is quite good if your wanting to read it in small bursts/sessions. The start of each chapter tells you the location and sometimes the date that the chapter is set in, so as to set the scene, which reminded me a bit of in the TV show Law and Order, whereby similar information is displayed in white text a black background before the start of each new scene. I liked that the majority of the chapters did end with a fairly good cliffhanger, so I did feel quite compelled to read on and find out what was meant by an ambiguous cliffhanger or what the next move would be for that character and so on.
The story may be a rather sensitive one for some, especially those who have been affected by the many priest child abuse scandals, which this novel is about, so this certainly won't suit everyone but thankfully I can say that there's very little in the way of graphic descriptions of abuse. The most graphic details in this book I'd say are when the crime scenes are described, there's a fair amount of mentions of maggots infesting decapitated heads and suchlike, so its perhaps not for the very faint hearted but thankfully there's very little graphic detail when it comes to any abuse allegations by the characters in the book, so if thats putting you off, you needn't be overly worried in my opinion.
I thought that there were quite alot of characters featured in the book and I did struggle at times to remember who was who, although for the most part I found it pretty easy to follow as a casual read, the plot is pretty easy to follow but remembering the exact roles or details of some of the characters got a bit confusing on ocassions. There are the main characters Maggie, the FBI profiler and her friend Gwen, then Maggie's work colleagues and various characters from the 'Our Lady of Sorrow' church based school and so on.
The dialogue is quite easy to follow and some chapters did have a fair amount of description and less dialogue, which I sometimes read right through and other times I skimmed over but I didn't find it too difficult to follow the plot if I did skim past some of the descriptions, I guess its up to you how much attention you pay to reading every last detail of novels but I certainly found that I was able to get the jist of the story by skim reading the majority of the longer description based paragraphs and reading in full the dialogue. Some of the description was quite good in setting the scene, like when Maggie and other characters interview the priests at the school or when Maggie confronts an old enemy that she has to make a deal with in order to help the FBI catch this serial killer, as is the main twist of the story. I did feel that I was genuinely interested in the two main characters of the story, Maggie and Gwen, given the background we discover throughout the novel and what goes on, so I think they are quite well written characters and having read it, I do feel like I'd like to read some more of this authors novels featuring these characters. I know I don't tend to read novels all that often but after I've taken a look at the other books I managed to get, I might buy some more Alex Kava novels, it'll make a change for me from reading all the Harlan Coben ones, which I felt were getting rather repetitive in plot...
If I were to criticise the novel, I suppose the main criticism would be for those of us who are keen on having a puzzle, a real mystery to solve, they might not be too impressed with this because when you reach the end of the novel, it may seem rather obvious what the outcome was. However, it didn't disappoint me as I don't tend to sit and analyse the story so far part way into a novel, I just read it and see where it takes me, if you know what I mean, so I hadn't taken time to try and second guess the outcome.
I managed to read the book from start to end in 4 days, which isn't too bad I feel, considering I don't read novels all that often. I only spent about an hour on Friday reading the first few chapters and then longer at the weekend but it is 490 pages long, so it does take a while to read, though as I say the chapters are fairly short and to the point, which helped me stick with it, as I do tend to read books that are closer to two to three hundred pages long rather than closer to five hundred pages long.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes I would recommend this book. I feel its a good book as it kept me interested throughout, I found the chapters were short which actually encouraged me to keep reading, there wasn't too much meandering detail and the dialogue is eas to follow. I had no prior knowledge of the main characters involved, yet I managed to follow the plot surprisingly well I feel and I thought it was a decent enough crime thriller novel. There are perhaps a few too many characters to keep track of and the outcome might be obvious to some if they insist on over analysing it part way through but otherwise, its a pretty good read and I'd gladly recommend it. I quite liked the main characters and may well purchase more of Alex Kava's Maggie O'Dell novels in the future.
- And Finally... -
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for any and all r/r/c's. This review will be posted at DooYoo UK under the same name. Oh and yes, before anyone else possibly mentions it, I have just realised how ironic it is to have read a novel about priests being killed linked to abuse allegations with it being Christmas this week - how very festive(!) hmmm!