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A serial killer like no other...
The Surrogate - Tania Carver
Member Name: jeffjen
The Surrogate - Tania Carver
Advantages: Good plot, characters and an enjoyable read.
When Detective Inspector Philip Brennan is called to the scene of the brutal killing of two women, he knows he has entered the world of the most depraved killer he has ever encountered. For one of these women was heavily pregnant and after killing her friend, he then drugged the pregnant woman and brutally removed her unborn baby before killing her too.
Althought this isn't the first time Phil's team have came across this gruesome scenario: a pregnant woman's abdomen sliced open and the baby removed, this is actually the first time the baby hasn't been left dead at the scene. It would seem as this is now the third incident of this kind, that the killer is targetting pregnant women and honing the art of being able to actually remove the baby alive and intact. Because the baby is missing from the scene this time, they have high hopes that the baby may still be alive. Will this possibly mean the killer now has what they wanted or will the killings continue? Phil and his team cannot be certain and also have a baby to find who if still alive, may need urgent medical treatment.
The first suspect in the case is the woman's ex-boyfriend, who had been quite abusive towards her in their relationship and threatened to remove the baby himself if she would not seek an abortion. And when links begin to appear between him and the other murdered women, Phil and the team think they may have found their man, but the question remains what has happened to the baby? And also this man certainly would not have wanted a live baby after the threats he had made would he?
Nothing is clear and when the department decides to bring in criminal profiler Marina Esposito to help solve the case she delivers a bombshell, something which they had not considered: Marina believes there is a woman involved in the killing, a woman desperate for children.
For Phil, there are a lot of things not adding up and the case is a lot more complex than they initially thought. He must find who is responsible and prevent this happening again.
Meanwhile, there is someone hanging around outside ante-natal classes and spots someone leaving who could be the ultimate prize...
Having recently read and enjoyed another Tania Carver novel: The Creeper, I was looking forward to reading this, her first novel. Having read both books I would suggest that anyone interested should read The Surrogate before reading The Creeper. The reason being that Detective Inspector Phil Brennan and his team including profiler Marina also feature in The Creeper and whilst it is a different story altogether, knowledge of the characters of Phil and Marina is beneficial prior to reading The Creeper. I was a little lost in places when reading The Creeper in regards to their characters and if only I had read this book first it would have made much more sense.
The Surrogate is an impressive story, quite gory and sickening in places it is certainly not one for the squeamish, but the author manages to keep it intriguing by dedicating some chapters to the killer and their thoughts and actions. There are also a few twists and I didn't really know who was responsible and why until near the end. The author cleverly leads you to realise early on that something isn't quite right and a shocking secret, something sickening, abusive and scandalous is being held by someone, but by whom and what it is exactly will keep you guessing right through the story.
The professional and personal relationship between Phil and Marina also begins here and things are not easy. Reading about them here answered the questions I had when reading The Creeper, as you learn how and why things have happened which have an effect on both characters in the years to come.
I really enjoyed the character of Phil in particular, he has a depth and warmth which is often missing from many lead dectectives in crime and thriller novels.
The supporting characters were also interesting and every one I think has been well thought out and useful to the story. There are no insignificant characters or lengthy needless descriptions here I am pleased to say. Everything and everyone featured has a purpose in this story.
Although the killings are quite horrific and really don't bear thinking about, I was surprised and a little shocked to find I had some empathy for a character I really shouldn't have. This is because the characters are created and developed in such a way I think the reader is left with little choice other than to sympathise a tiny little bit.
The story moves forward at a steady pace and I found it quite hard to put this book down after the first few pages and finished it in two sittings. At 438 pages, The Surrogate is an average length thriller packed with intriguing characters and a gory storyline which has more than one red herring to prevent it from becoming predictable. The author has created characters the reader will care about, whether they are good or bad and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Well written and a good plot with a few twists and interesting characters, I couldn't really ask for more.
Summary: The Surrogate has all the required ingredients needed for a good thriller.