Title: Victim Six
Author: Gregg Olsen
Publisher: Pinnacle Leads
# of Pages: 432pp (Nook edition)
Genre: Mystery/Crime Fiction
Reason for Reading: I’m stuck in a hotel room with 2 dogs and a husband who’s in and out. What else is there to do but read? Okay, I could watch Toddlers & Tiaras, but ugh.
Even in the midst of a spring or summer’s day with a cloudless sky marred only by the contrails of a jet overhead, the woods of Kitsap County were always blindfold dark. It had been more than eighty years since the region was first logged by lumberjacks culling the forest for income; now it was developers who were clearing land for new tracts of ticky-tacky homes. Quiet. Dark. Secluded. The woods heaved quietly in a darkness that hid the fawn or the old refrigerator that someone had unceremoniously discarded. Patches of soil were so heavy with moisture that a person stepping off the nearly imperceptible pathway would feel his shoes being nearly sucked from his feet.
The woods were full of dark secrets, which is exactly what had attracted him in the first place. He’d noticed the brush pickers when he’d been out on the hunt several weeks before, when he had an urge to do something. A crammed-full station wagon was parked on the side of the road as close to the edge as possible without going into the ditch. They poured from their vehicle, talking and laughing, as if what they were about to do was some kind of fun adventure.
He sized up the women.
Most were small.
Most were thin, reasonably pretty, and young.
Some didn’t know English-at least not enough to speak it with any real fluency.
He took it to mean that they were likely illegals.
Excellent. Who would care if one of those went missing?
A few days later, he returned to the place where he knew more of them would come. From across the road, he watched the pretty dark-haired girl get out of the van, flanked by three young men.
He liked that too.
Later, when he felt her body go limp in his arms, he smiled.
I like mysteries. I don’t like exploitation fiction. And this seemed totally exploitative. Frankly, I was surprised to see the positive ratings for this novel at Barnes & Noble online.
What I Liked: Honestly? Not much.
What I Disliked: There was so much opportunity for greater character development and depth that Olsen just either missed altogether or made what seemed a perfunctory attempt. For example, the lead detective’s son is autistic. Olsen seemed to at least attempt to bring that into the story, but failed miserably. It ended up feeling like a token “her son is autistic and she’s dealing with that while trying to solve a serial killer case” kind of thing. The identity of the killers is revealed fairly early on, so the tension is not whodunnit as much as it is when will they get caught. Additionally, because of the title, you know how many people are going to be attacked and/or killed.
Furthermore, it felt too voyeuristic in the descriptions of the sexual torture inflicted upon the victims of the killers. I felt not like I was supposed to be horrified so much as titillated, which is just wrong on so many levels.
After I finished reading the book, I felt contaminated. Filthy. I can’t in all good conscience recommend this book to anyone.