Sunday, October 8, 2017

Book Review: 'The Watson Girl' by Leslie Wolfe

Florida author Leslie Wolfe has assumed the role of the feminine counterpart to the Tom Clancy, Lee Child, Ian Fleming set, proving that indeed women can equal if not surpass the established norm of espionage techno-thrillers. One of the many reasons Leslie makes her novels work is her creation of strong female roles – something her male counterparts have found it difficult to do. Another couple of pluses in her corner are her penetrating interest in both psychology and technology – both of which she employs to fine use in this thriller.

Leslie’s current book THE WATSON GIRL is hopefully Book 1 in a series – Serial Killer Thriller series– because it is just that fine. The manner in which she addresses the horrors and psychological terror of the serial killer’s mind is only part of the sophistication of the tenor of this new book. . She jolts us into her story in the first paragraph: ‘He knocked on the door with the barrel of his gun, then screwed on a silencer while waiting for someone to welcome him in. He checked the surroundings one more time. In the heavy dusk, shadows were long, and sounds were too few to disturb the suburban peacefulness. A dog barked in the neighborhood somewhere, and sounds of remote highway traffic were so distant he could barely register them. The two-story house had warmly illuminated windows on both floors, with white sheers that made the soft lights shimmer, and gave the massive, Colonial Revival home a fairy-tale look. The distant sound of a cartoon made it all the way to the dimly lit porch. He recognized the guttural voice of Daffy Duck. Only one car was parked on the wide, three-car garage driveway, the silver minivan Rachel Watson liked to use while performing the functions of modern-day motherhood, with one or more of her three children loaded in the back seats. Allen Watson’s car was nowhere in sight. But Watson always garaged his Benz, careful not to get a speck of dust on the custom paint that must have set him back a small fortune. Even if he couldn’t see his car, he knew Watson was home. He knew it because he didn’t leave anything to chance.’

The complex story is well outlined in the synopsis: ‘An entire family is murdered and, by a quirk, a young girl is left unharmed. For fifteen years, she believed the killer had been caught, and he’s now on death row, awaiting execution. While trying to be content with her adoptive family, she’s living in relentless uncertainty and the fear of remembering what really happened that night when she was five years old. She’s The Watson Girl. A therapist has asked her to participate in regression session treatments to attempt to bring back those lost memories. The closer she gets to the truth, however, the less time she has to remain alive. Now, the real killer is going to silence her, before she can remember the details of that horrifying night, when she was an innocent witness. Laura Watson is young, she’s beautiful, and she’s a serial killer's loose end. Join the smart, relentless, and short-fused FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett and her team in a heart-stopping search for the serial killer who has managed to stay hidden for many years. Explore the inner workings of the murderer’s mind, and find out what motivates such predatory, blood-lusting behavior, while following every twist and turn of an existence spent taking lives. Laura Watson’s family was murdered fifteen years ago. That was only the beginning. His beginning. If you’re the apple of his eye, you’re already dead. Special Agent Tess Winnett will hold nothing back to stop the killer before he takes another innocent life. She never fails, no matter what’s at stake. Even her own life.’

That about sums up the plot, but it doesn’t do justice to the writing skill of Leslie Wolfe – that you can only appreciate by spending time in the terrifying world she has created. But rest assured, we are in fine hands with the major important figure of Tess Winnett. She’s on it, and we’re in it. Grady Harp, January 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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