by Joy Fielding
New York Times and internationally bestselling author triumphs with a spine-tingling thriller about a picturesque Florida town – and the killer determined to prey on its teenage girls… Heartstopper.
Welcome to Torrance, Florida. Population: 4,160. As Sheriff John Weber would attest, the deadliest predators to date in his tiny hamlet were the alligators lurking in the nearby swamps. But that was before someone abducted and murdered a runaway teenage girl … and before the disappearance of popular and pretty Liana Martin. The pattern is chilling to Sandy Crosbie, the town’s new high school English teacher. With a marriage on the rocks, thanks to her husband’s online affairs, and a beautiful teenage daughter to protect, Sandy wishes she’d never come to the seemingly quiet town with shocking depths of scandal, sex, and brutality roiling beneath its surface. And as Sheriff Weber digs up more questions than answers in a dead-end investigation, one truth emerges: the prettiest ones – the heartstoppers – are being targeted. And this killer intends to give them their due.
Alternating between the chilling journal entries of a cold-blooded murderer and the sizzling scandals of small-town life, Heartstopper is Fielding’s most exciting novel of suspense yet.
Review: Not as chilling as I was led to believe…
I can’t even get into a description with this one before giving my honest opinion. I think this is the first time I’ve ever read a book where there doesn’t feel like there’s a main character. I mean, the synopsis has Sandy Crosbie as the main character. While you do see a lot of her and what’s going on in her life, the teens in the book, the sheriff and his family… it’s like equal exposure. Chilling journal entries? Um, I think not. And I could tell it was a teenager that wrote them – mainly because of the writing and rambling. I don’t want to reveal too much, in case you decide to read it, but I wasn’t surprised by the outcome, it really didn’t hold that much mystery or suspense for me, and not that much of a thriller either.
Sandy and her family had moved to Torrance at her husband’s insistance. Little did Sandy know it was because of an online affair – for now her husband has left her for another woman. To make matters worse, she teaches the daughter of that woman. Can we say awkward? That’s about the only thing that was awkward.
With a divorce looming in front of her, her friend finally convinces her on a double blind date, but Sandy went with the flow when she was “rescued” from her uncomfortability only to land herself in a stupid situation. And I do mean stupid situation – I thought it was the most ridiculous scenario the author could have put her in; completely obvious, and I think that made it worse, cause you knew before Sandy knew what was going to happen. Ugh. I have a friend who gave me a nickname for a stupid character like that: TSTL – Too Stupid To Live heroine. And even then, she wasn’t a heroine. She didn’t figure it out. Sure, she’s worried about her 17-year-old daughter, and how the kidnappings and killings are of beautiful teenage girls, but she was just like everyone else in town – just as clueless as to who the killer was.
The climax had me turning the page, just to see what would happen. Sure, acceptable outcome. The last chapter is the killer’s journal again, where you get the wrap-up of the aftermath. Again, everything was obvious. And this book was supposed to be a thriller? I wanted so much to like this book and was disappointed because, while I didn’t hate it, I found it to be between “whatever” and “okay.”