Broken Dolls by James Carol

Broken Dolls - James Carol

It's been a while since I last delved into the catch a serial killer genre and to be honest the repetitive nature of all the various different attempts eventually put me off. It turned into a chore searching for one that would bring something different to the table, characters that I could root for and a bad guy worthy of the accolade. My favourites of course being the darker stuff, point of view characters from the hunter and the hunted.


So Broken Dolls is my latest and a return to the crime thriller stuff that I liked to read before turning to fantasy and my latest thing, dark fiction and horror.


So could Broken Dolls manage to reinvigorate my feelings regarding that well-worn track searching for a killer who invariably tortures and kills, and eventually makes a mistake or is caught through sheer luck or ingenuity?


Well Jefferson Winter is the hunter, a former FBI profiler who contracts out as a consultant searching for serial killers and the like. He's got an incredibly high IQ of course, drinks, smokes and his father was caught and executed as a convicted serial killer. His latest case is in London, a brutal, cold blooded assailant who kidnaps and tortures his female victims, keeps them incapacitated for months, psychologically torments them and an all but final nail in the coffin. Using a particularly cringe worthy implement he takes their minds, leaving them a drooling vegetable.


Now the hunted doesn't really get a point of view standing barring one chapter, his latest victim Rachel does however, so through her treatment we get a first-hand view of the miscreants mind games and violent inclinations.


Jefferson is partnered with a female detective named Templeton who, we're repeatedly told has the looks of a model and is absolutely stunning. When I say repeatedly, that's certainly how it felt, almost like a ‘setup another ideal victim scenario’. So you can probably guess what's going to happen to her and it’s a little bit painful to watch it develop.


So did Broken Dolls do it for me, well I'd have to say it did and it didn't. I'm still in two minds about Jefferson Winter the whole likening his intelligence to Da Vinci was cheap as was the model like detective. The thing that wasn't really exploited was the hunter’s killer father and the likelihood that he could go the same way, there could be a darkness to this character that may come in future episodes of his story and that's the intriguing element. There was a couple of surprises that caught me but nothing really earth shattering, a familiar false trail exercise but on the whole the paths are familiar, so it's down to the characters and there's just enough there to revisit this series.