I am delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Problem Child by Victoria Helen Stone on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!
Problem Child: A Jane Doe Thriller
2nd in Series
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (March 24, 2020)
Paperback: 265 pages
Digital ASIN: B07SDTRJP9
She’s cold, calculating, and can deceive with a smile. Jane Doe is back in the Amazon Charts bestselling series—and this time she’s met her match.
After a brutal childhood, Jane Doe has been permanently wired to look after herself and only herself. Now, looking next to normal, Jane has a lover and a job. But she hasn’t lost her edge. It sharpens when she hears from her estranged family.
Jane’s deeply troubled sixteen-year-old niece, Kayla, has vanished, and no one seems to care. Neither does Jane. Until she sees a picture of Kayla and recognizes herself in the young girl’s eyes. It’s the empty stare of a sociopath.
Jane knows what vengeful and desperate things Kayla is capable of. Only Jane can help her—by being drawn into Kayla’s dark world. And no one’s more aware than Jane just how dangerous that can be.
Sucked into this one by the blurb and the genre (I do love a good thriller), I was an innocent pulled into the world of a true sociopath. (Sociopath: Someone who has antisocial personality disorder, can’t understand others’ feelings and exhibit a lack of conscience.) Told in first person, protagonist Jane Doe has been at her job for a year.
Jane has met a man, also an innocent, who finds her fascinating, titillating, and irresistible. Unfortunately, he is ready to take their relationship to another level. She isn’t. But she is capable of manipulating the men at her law firm and it’s sooo easy to view the glass ceiling. It’s within reach now. Then she gets a call about a niece, Kayla, who she wouldn’t care about at all, except that she is apparently “just like her.” She can’t resist the temptation to find the missing girl and see for herself if that is true.
Jane had a childhood that molded the woman who can take care of herself. She is capable, smart, and became an attorney without help–escaping a desperately miserable family life back home.
I came in to Book 2 as a standalone and must say this one came as a shock. After reading cozies, psychological thrillers, and carefully selecting books with a PG rating, discovered this novel quite a serious departure. There is humor of a dark nature and the storyline involved scenes that might have had me blushing when younger. Jane is a main character with which I’ve had few comparisons–she can be sexually adventurous and foul-mouthed and oh so square how she sees others–but not of herself. She has trust issues, but her cynicism has been a positive and along with her wit kept her (mostly) safe.
When she finds Kayla, she is what you’d expect a sixteen-year-old raised in the same poisonous atmosphere as Jane to be. She’s annoying and also manipulative. The middle block tended to be on the crude side. But like a pimple-faced fourteen-year-old male adolescent viewing a secreted copy of Playboy, difficult to put down. There is a well-plotted story at a fast pace breezing through Jane’s encounters with the population of her hometown, put satisfying in their place now, and I suspect somewhat of a reprise of Book 1. The conclusion appears to suggest a happy solution for both Jane and Kayla, as well as Luke, right up until that last little zinger at the end–a spark for Book 3–and a shocker. I did NOT see that twist coming and it definitely threw me.
I’ll include a few trigger warnings: sexual content, language, drugs and drinking. Interesting to park yourself in the mind of a sociopath, safely, where you could escape back to reality at the end of the novel (but not totally unscathed). I received this uncorrected proof from the publisher through NetGalley for this book tour and appreciated the opportunity to break out of my pleasant, but predictable reads. Will I request Book 3? Yes.
Sign up for your chance to win one of five (5) print copies of Problem Child: A Jane Doe Thriller by Victoria Helen Stone – U.S. only – in this Rafflecopter giveaway
Victoria Helen Stone, formerly writing as USA Today bestselling novelist Victoria Dahl, is originally from the Midwest but now writes from an upstairs office high in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. After a career in romance that included the American Library Association’s prestigious Reading List Award, she turned toward the darker side of fiction and has written the critically acclaimed novels, Evelyn, After; Half Past; and False Step. Her Amazon Charts bestselling thriller Jane Doe has been optioned by Sony Television. For more on the author and her work, visit VictoriaHelenStone.com. And on Twitter @VictoriaDahl
Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!
March 17 – fundinmental – REVIEW
March 17 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 18 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
March 18 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
March 19 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 19 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW
March 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
March 21 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
March 22 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
March 22 – This Is My Truth Now – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
March 23 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this thriller!
©2020 V Williams