This may be a controversial opinion, but Gone Girl really didn’t work for me. I read it when it was a number one bestseller and, in the face of overwhelming critical acclaim, I really felt as if I was out of step with thrillers at that particular moment. That’s a rather disquieting fact when you write in that genre. So, I took the time to really look at why I didn’t enjoy it. It was a solid story, but the gritty portrayal of the protagonists’ marriage, and the nastiness and betrayals were just not fun to experience with them. It was dark and disturbing and unsettling. Kudos to Gillian Flynn for bringing her readers along for the ride, but, for me, life is heavy enough without that kind of realism invading my brief and precious entertainment space. Many books have followed with a similar psychological thriller theme: Girl on the Train, The Woman in the Window, Pretty Girls, etc. By and large they haven’t worked for me either (Pretty Girls being the exception), often leaving me unsatisfied.
I’ve been a long-time reader of J.D. Robb’s In Death series, which straddles the mystery and thriller genres against a light science fiction backdrop. Set forty years in the future, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is an officer of the New York City Police and Security Department, and handles cases from murder to terrorism. Eve is a little rough around the edges, but one of her most notable characteristics is the moral code that influences every aspect of her life and especially her law enforcement career. She is joined by a large cast of characters who either share that code (her partner or fellow law enforcement officers) or challenge it (her ex-criminal husband who wants to take the law into his own hands on occasion). But I have long recognized that one of the aspects of this series that keeps me coming back is the theme of emotional justice that is integral to every book. Yes, bad things happen, people die, or their lives are altered forever, but there is always a sense that justice will prevail to varying degrees. Restitution cannot be made, but the people responsible for horrible deeds will pay for those actions in some way. At base, I think this was my difficulty with Gone Girl—in a world where real emotional justice often seems elusive, spending so much time with dishonorable people who continually got away with their schemes was exhausting and unsatisfying.
I recognize those same themes of emotional justice in my own writing. Yes, perhaps it is unrealistic—not every crime comes to a satisfying conclusion, cold cases go unanswered, some murders are never solved—but getting away from the sometimes brutal reality of the real world means we can find answers in the fictional world we’d never dream of in our own lives. That’s a satisfaction I can live with.
In the wake of a devastating hurricane, Special Agent Meg Jennings and her Labrador, Hawk—invaluable members of the FBI’s Human Scent Evidence Team—have been deployed to Virginia Beach. They have their work cut out for them. Amid graveyards of debris, and the buried cries for help, the search and rescue operation begins. The most alarming discovery is yet to come—a teenage girl hiding in the Great Dismal Swamp. Shaken by the storm, she has reason to be scared. But this young survivor is terrified of so much more.
Her name is Emma—a disheveled runaway lost to the sordid underbelly of a Virginia sex-trafficking ring. Its leader has disappeared in the chaos—along with other victims. With so much evidence, and so many witnesses, seemingly washed away, Meg joins forces with Special Agent Walter Van Cleave to ensure no further harm comes to their vulnerable charge. They soon discover that this is no small-time localized syndicate. Its branches are rooted in some of the most influential powers in Virginia. Now as Meg’s investigation digs deeper, she’s making some very dangerous enemies. And one by one, they’re coming out of the storm to stop her.
Praise For Lone Wolf The First FBI K-9 Novel By Sara Driscoll
“A wonderfully readable series launch.” —Publishers Weekly
“Tense and exciting, Sara Driscoll has created a new power couple, Meg and her FBI K-9, Hawk.” —Leo J. Maloney, author of Arch Enemy