Monday, 14 April 2014

The Fourth Motive (Ferrell and Kearns #2) - an early review

by Sean Lynch
Exhibit A

US/CAN Print
Date: 24th April 2014
ISBN: 9781909223103
Format: Large (Trade) Paperback
R.R.P.: US$14.99 CAN$16.99

Deputy District Attorney Paige Callen is being stalked, and the man stalking her is motivated, methodical, and relentless. 

The police aren’t merely one step behind Paige’s stalker; they’re stumped. So Paige’s father, retired Judge ‘Iron Gene’ Callen, instead hires retired San Francisco P.D. Inspector turned private investigator Bob Farrell, to the dismay of the local police.

The cops know all-too-well Farrell’s reputation as a reckless wild card. Judge Callen, however, knows Farrell as a man who never lets the rules get in the way of getting the job done. 

Farrell enlists the aid of former Iowa Deputy Kevin Kearns to help him protect Paige, and to stop a madman before she becomes a statistic. But to find her stalker, Farrell and Kearns must first learn why he’s launched his crusade; a journey none of them may survive.

What I think of it

This book is a classic game of cat and mouse between the harasser and the harassed, between the harassed and the handsome guy, between Farrell and the harasser, between Farrell... and the police. There's so many people running one after the other and creating lots of trouble, it sometimes becomes confusing! This book is the second in a series and it seems it's better to have read the first (which I did not ) before reading this one, because Farrell's setbacks with police are directly associated with what happened before. There's also much hints about Farrell and Kearns' ordeal in the first book.

The stalker is ultra motivated in this story. He couldn't be more prepared, both physically, materially or in the sequences of actions. His hatred for Paige is somewhat irrational but very real. Another example of the pathetic loser who prefers to blame others for his failures. But in the same time, Paige is so detestable that one comes almost to wish him good luck! The story is relentless with - always - the threat of the stalker who can kill his prey at any time, it is maddening! I sometimes found that the stalker came back too soon when he should have tend to his wounds, as in those movies where the bad guy never stops coming back.

Talking characters. Paige Cullen has managed an exemplary career with the help of her father, which she refuses to see, and shows a very annoying arrogance insurance. Even when she's almost killed/rape/kidnap (your choice), she continues to refuse to be help because she believes she can fend for herself. Farrell is the typical private detective, always a smoke in his mouth and a glass of whiskey in his hand. He demonstrated a realism bordering on cynicism regarding the rules, which justifies - in his eyes - his unorthodox methods. Kearns is the good guy, always ready to defend the widow and the orphan (or spoiled rotten DDA in this case). He's always there at the right time and doesn't try to get ahead.

The weak point of the novel concerns the love story that ends up happening (and it is not difficult to guess between whom). I sometimes had the impression of being in a Harlequin novel where the virile guy finally coax the temperamental young woman to the point of making her as gentle as a lamb. It's a bit too caricatural and unnecessary in a story that should be fast paced.

However, what I liked about the book is it's highlighting of the police shortcomings in cases of harassment. The protection of a person calls for swift action that does not allow the justice due to very lengthy and costly procedures - thus used sparingly. The author is a former cop and this is reflected in the narrative, especially in Farrell's quips when attacking the limits of justice. We feel the frustration of a cop who knows and hates to see his system helpless against evil and heavy and unnecessary procedures.

In a nutshell

A book that reads quickly, characters that won't leave you indifferent, an interesting critisism of the judiciary system in cases of stalking, but a useless love  story. This is a 3.5 / 5 for me.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

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