Sunday, January 08, 2006

Book Review: 'The Third Victim'

One of the most frightening developments in Western culture, in the US particularly, is school shootings. This issue forms the premise of Lisa Gardner's crime novel, The Third Victim. Bakersville is a small town and a devastating crime has ripped the peaceful fabric of this community. Two children and one of the teachers of the local school have been shot dead and a young boy has confessed to the crime. But some of the evidence raises a question about whether or not the boy is actually guilty. Officer Rainie Conner has lived in the town most of her life and, for the first time, she is called on to lead the investigation of a homicide. As she carries out her investigations, she is troubled by memories of her own past. With the help of FBI profiler, Pierce Quincy, Rainie moves closer and closer to a terrifying truth that threatens her very life. The Third Victim is a great read and moves along at a good pace. The main protaganist, Rainie Conner, is a complicated character and, as the plot unfolds, Gardiner explores some of the issues around school shootings. The characters are down-to-earth and well-developed, the plot has some surprises, and the climactic ending is tense. In addition, Gardiner explicitly states in a note at the front of the book that she wrote the novel in order to try to 'understand why these mass murders had occurred and what could be done to prevent them.' A good read. Related Links

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