Broken Dolls (Jefferson Winter #1) by James Carol @JamesCarolBooks #TuesdayBookBlog

  • Author: James Carol
  • Published: January 2014 by Faber & Faber
  • Category: Crime, Thriller, Book Review, Books, Reading, Procedural

Jefferson Winter is no ordinary investigator.

The son of one of America’s most renowned serial killers, Winter has spent his life trying to distance himself from his father’s legacy.

After a successful career with the FBI, the last few years as a high achieving profiler, Jefferson Winter’s unconventional approach prompted him to leave the constraints of an organisation and go freelance. He now consults on serial killer cases worldwide.

His father was a convicted serial killer and the three words he mouthed as he lay on the prison gurney waiting to be executed, haunt Winter. It’s one of the incentives that drive him, motivating him to do what he does and also to dissociate himself from his father.

Following a request for help from Detective Inspector Mark Hatcher, Winter arrives in London. DI Hatcher has made little or no headway in his latest case – a psychopathic serial killer who abducts, tortures and lobotomises young women, then  sets them free for the police to find. A gruesome twist on the usual serial killer stories.

A fifth woman has been abducted and the race is on to try and find her before she is irrevocably damaged.

‘That’s fine in theory. The problem is there’s a woman out there who’s about to come face to face with her worst nightmare and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to stop that. My job is to protect these people.’ 

There was no response to that. I’d been in Hatcher’s shoes plenty of times and knew exactly what he was feeling right now. The helplessness, the need to do something when you didn’t have a clue what that something was. The anger was the hardest thing to deal with, though. Anger at yourself for not solving the puzzle, anger at a world where those puzzles even existed.

Having a profiler as the protagonist is a refreshing change and gives the story a different slant. Jefferson Winter certainly has an extraordinary ability to get inside the mind of the villain. He’s a likeable character, eccentric, intuitive, focussed and confident, but seems to lead a solitary life. Never in one place long enough to form lasting friendships or attachments. 

The story flows well, with tension and suspense, and it was interesting to follow Winter’s thought processes, which drive the investigation forward. I enjoyed the writing style, everything was relevant with no unnecessary passages to slow things down. Just enough description for atmosphere and mental images to form. The chemistry between Winter and the ‘absolutely stunning’ Templeton was enjoyable, even if having the perfect blonde, blue-eyed sidekick was a bit clichéd.

The passages from the perspective of Rachel Morris, the present victim, are very well done and realistically convey the pain, terror and hopelessness of her situation. The chapters throughout are short and fast paced which add to the tension and the plot follows a winding road.

I’m intrigued to see how Jefferson Winter, a character with loads of potential, evolves in the following books.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

About James Carol

James Carol was born in Scotland in 1969, where he spent his early years. He moved to England in the eighties and has lived there ever since. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor.

The character of Jefferson Winter came about because he wanted to write a series of books that gave him as much freedom as possible. He figured that the more interesting he kept things for himself, the more interesting it would be for the reader.

Although the novels are written as a series, James approaches each book as a stand-alone. Each story is set in a different location, and has a different cast of characters. The beauty of this approach is that the novels can be read out of order.

Broken Dolls, the first Jefferson Winter thriller, will be published in January 2014. This will be followed in the Spring by Presumed Guilty, the first in a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. Watch Me, the second Jefferson Winter thriller, is scheduled for publication in September 2014.

When he’s not writing, James spends his time training horses and riders. An accomplished guitarist, he relaxes by writing and recording music. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.

Media links ~ Website | Facebook | Twitter

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