Friday, July 22, 2016

Book Review: Throw Away Girls by Jennifer Vaughn

Title: Throw Away Girls (The Jaycee Wilder Series #1)
Author: Jennifer Vaughn
Genres: Mystery| Thriller| Amateur sleuth| Adult Fiction
Print length: 343 pages
Publisher: Waldorf Publishing
Publication date: July 15, 2016
Source: NetGalley (provided by publisher for honest review)
Format: E-book
Author website

Hard-charging and ambitious, LA TV reporter Jaycee Wilder is hungry for the big story. When dead girls begin to pile up at seedy nightclubs that cater to fetish-seeking strangers, Jaycee suspects a serial killer is at work. She aligns herself with a former east coast cop trying to resurrect himself--and his once stellar career--from a drunken skid. The killer hunts the Throw Away Girls at night, punishing them for their dark urges. He leaves messages behind in his victims' blood, his explanation for enacting such brutal, twisted justice upon the unworthy. As Jaycee follows her gut, and the evidence, she forces him to act. But when a killer is clever and cunning, he can infiltrate anywhere. Jaycee must use all her skills to expose him before he gets to her first. Goodreads
The plot:  L.A.'s underground sex clubs have become the playground for a sadistic serial killer who targets those he dubs "Throw Away Girls," painting this condemnation on the wall with his victim's blood.

Rising star investigative reporter, Jaycee Wilder, gets involved when she's tapped to report on the third victim, Zoe Statler; beloved teacher/girlfriend/daughter/sister by day, raging sex kitten at night. What starts as a desire to do her job and bring justice to these girls who have been dubbed "throw aways," not just by the killer but by society due to their sexual proclivities, soon spirals into an obsession to catch the killer before he strikes again.

The character(s): Jaycee Wilder started out as a strong, ambitious, self-made woman that I quite admired. However, she treats her loving boyfriend like crap and her family backstory is just kind of dropped in there. Also, her downward spiral as she gets sucked into her investigation makes her very irrational and a bit whiny. Besides that, for someone who's working so hard to get justice for these women because "they're people," she barely attempts to hide her disgust at their lifestyle. She hovers between justice and judgment throughout the story.

Detective Barton, the cop she partners with for this investigation, starts off as the stereotypical sloppy, alcoholic screw-up. And while I found the idea of the tortured, former supercop a bit much, the event that caused his downward spiral was fascinating, as was watching him clean up his life (although this seemed to happen almost instantaneously. No slow recovery for him!)

Ben is her best bud and cameraman, the other half of ABC12's dynamic duo. Their relationship and dependence on each other is fairly well-done and interesting.

The mystery: Jennifer Vaughn has written quite a page-turner, although she starts getting really heavy-handed towards the middle and makes it fairly obvious who the killer is. Honestly, when I got to that point, I still wasn't sure whether or not I liked the story, but I felt invested enough to continue.

Final bite: This book had lots of potential and there are areas where I feel like it's interesting and well-done. However, as a whole, I just wasn't feeling it. Perhaps because this is supposed to be the beginning of a series, the author felt the need to shoehorn in some things and leave out others that I felt needed more explanation. In the end, I found it a bit lacking. I don't regret reading it, and it was a surprisingly fast read, so I'll say this: check it out from the library or get a cheaper e-book version. I don't think this is a full-price read.

Rating: 3/5

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