Author: Alexandra Sokoloff
Performed by R.C. Bray
Released: October 2017 by Brilliance Audio
Category: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Book Review, Audiobook, Books, Reading
Revenge has no limits.
Special Agent Matthew Roarke has abandoned his rogue search for serial killer Cara Lindstrom. He’s returned to the FBI to head a task force with one mission: to rid society of its worst predators. But as the skeletal symbols of Santa Muerte, “Lady Death,” mysteriously appear at universities nationwide, threatening death to rapists, Roarke’s team is pressured to investigate. When a frat boy goes missing in Santa Barbara, Roarke realizes a bloodbath is coming—desperate teenagers are about to mete out personal, cold-blooded justice.
Book five in the Huntress series sees Matthew Roarke returning to the FBI, despite his intention never to go back to the Bureau after he followed in the teenage Cara’s footsteps, her group home and high school, discovering what she endured, and in the process solved a sixteen year old cold case. This has given him something of a dilemma. His feelings towards Cara had changed.
Now Roarke is to head a task force specifically targeting the sexual abuse and trafficking of children. Working closely with Singh and Epps, they follow cyber trails into the darkest reaches of the internet and learn that someone is offering a bounty for the capture and delivery of Cara.
Meanwhile, after she jumped bail, Cara headed into Mexico where she is living in a small wooden house at the bottom of a canyon in Navajo territory where she patrols the rim of the canyon, her quest to eliminate the evil that is It undaunted. In the preceding books Cara was on the FBI wanted list because of her methods of seeking revenge against sexual predators. But now the general population of women are aware of Cara’s motives and have taken a stand.
The story has two main threads: the hunt for Cara and the disappearances of frat boys who are known rapists. Teenage girls cannot rely on the justice system, as Cara knows only too well, and take matters into their own hands, spurred on by the online organisation known as Bitch and Cara’s notoriety.
Like the Internet hactivist group Anonymous, the feminist organization Bitch was a philosophy more than an actual structure. “Affiliation” was probably a better word for it. It was an underground, off-the-grid operation that claimed to have no headquarters, no corporate location. There was no telling if there were forty members, or four hundred, or four thousand. Anyone who wanted to could use the name Bitch to claim credit for a certain kind of action. In Bitch’s case, that action was exposing sex criminals.
Last month, when the pairs of pimps and johns started turning up dead on infamous prostitute strolls in the city, no one had used Bitch’s name to claim credit for those murders. But the crime scenes were linked by the shrines and offerings to Santa Muerte, and Bitch had adopted the symbols of the saint when they were staging protests against the incarceration of Cara Lindstrom.
This is a series that really should be read in sequence, in order to form your own opinions with all the relevant background and details. It’s obvious Cara is a killer and, although her underlying rage is understandable from the female perspective, her actions are controversial at the very least, yet the question remains, is she inherently evil? A blend of fact and fiction slams the impact home. The story covers many dark aspects, including more than one type of abuse and corruption, with a combination of mysticism and supernatural adding to the overall reading experience.
The reviews seem to be split down the middle, most negative ones centre around the opinion that this book is being used as a political platform, the positive from people who enjoy the series for what it is. For me, everything in this book fits in with the continuing story and is applicable in the present climate. I’m not going to comment on the choice of the American people, I’m just reviewing the book. Nevertheless, the attitude coming to the fore of a seemingly growing number of individuals and the resulting violence towards women and girls without much hope of redress, although not a new phenomenon, surely needs to be confronted and dealt with.
A challenging read given the subject matter, but extremely well written with much food for thought. Still one of my favourite series, with a great narration by R.C. Bray.
Taken from the author’s Afterword:
‘My plea from previous books remains the same. I have not in any way exaggerated the horrific and unacceptable national rape kit backlog, the bureaucratic failure of the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, the criminal mishandling of rape complaints on college (and high school) campuses, and the inadequacy of resources to prosecute traffickers of children and teens.’