Thursday, May 13, 2010

68. 212 by Alafair Burke

I went to the library one day armed with a list of books to check out with the thought in mind that I should also choose something off the new fiction shelf as a my pick. I read the first few sentences of the 212 book jacket copy and was hooked, I thought it sounded sort of Gossip Girl-related and that was intriguing. The clincher for me was Alafair Burke is a former deputy district attorney from Portland, OR. I'll give any Portland author a try.

When New York University sophomore Megan Gunther finds personal threats posted to a Web site specializing in campus gossip, she's taken aback by their menacing tone. Someone knows her daily routine down to the minute and is watching her -- but thanks to the anonymity provided by the Internet, the police tell her there's nothing they can do. Her friends are sure it's someone's idea of a joke, but when Megan is murdered in a vicious attack, NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher is convinced that the online threats are more than just empty words.

With smooth, straight-talking partner J.J. Rogan at her side, Ellie tries to identify Megan's enemies, but she begins to wonder if the coed's murder was more than just a culmination of a cyber obsession. Phone records reveal a link between Megan and a murdered real estate agent who was living a dangerous double life. The detectives also learn that the dead real estate agent shared a secret connection to a celebrity mogul whose bodyguard was mysteriously killed a few months earlier.

Exposing the darkness that lurks beneath the glamorous surface of New York City, 212 delivers yet another "knuckle-biting journey that'll keep you turning pages until the very end" (Faye Kellerman).

Summary lifted from the book jacket. Do you see what I mean about it sounding a little Gossip Girl-y at the beginning?

I read this book in two days, I could not put it down. This is a perfectly constructed, intricate mystery and a great effing read. The hook that made me check out 212 in the first place wasn't really a big part of the story; it turned out to be something completely different but AMAZING. This post is going to be pretty short, because I don't want to give anything away! I want you to go read it for yourself.

I do have one minor complaint: I didn't think that Burke described the physical appearance of her main characters promptly enough. When I read something, I immediately start visualizing the characters in my mind either based on the author's description or on their actions if no description is included right away. I pictured Ellie's partner one way, only to find out a couple of chapters later that he was supposed to look and dress completely differently. And by this time, it's too late. I'm pretty stubborn and I want to keep picturing characters the way that I already have. But compared to my overall enjoyment of the story, I can let this one go. I will definitely be reading more of Burke's books, especially the second one featuring Ellie Hatcher. 

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