Review: The Girls in the Water (Detectives King and Lane, #1) by Victoria Jenkins

35104473★★★★

There’s just something about smart, in-charge females solving violent crimes against other females, perpetrated by men with psycho fucking issues, that really gives me some lady wood.

I was super excited to read this new series by Victoria Jenkins for that very reason, and I have to say it didn’t disappoint.

This is a really promising start for a new author and new series.

In Wales, a jogger finds the body of a woman floating in the river. DI Alex King and DC Chloe Lane are called to the scene. It seems almost as soon as the first body is found a second body turns up. Serial killers FTW.

Let’s talk characters: The thing about these two ladies is that they are in fact two ladies. Unique, and given equal time to develop – though they have much more room to grow in their definitions for follow up stories. Their histories, their emotions, their life circumstances – it is not surface or cliche or redundant. They feel like two purposeful characters, who practice support of each other. Women need to have each other’s backs, instead of infighting, and I loved that this book clearly demonstrates that sisterhood, even in difficult circumstances, even in the same job, even when they don’t understand each other’s motives or reactions.

Also, let’s talk about joggers for just a second. They are always finding bodies, aren’t they? Honestly, the luck! Almost makes me want to start jogging.

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Almost. But I’m way better at not jogging. You go where your strengths are, you know?

I really dug the plot of this debut. The plot twists weren’t necessarily shocking, and the killer was cliche with his I’ve got mommy issues motive for murder, but there was a beautiful simplicity to those elements. It felt like classic mystery in a way; a throwback to what we originally understood about serial killers and the books I started reading decades ago. It was less modern thriller, and more suspense procedural. Sometimes when authors are constantly trying to out twist each other with how crazy and shocking their stories can be, it’s nice to read something that is dedicated to a classic storyline – there’s a killer and the good guys are going to try to catch him.

Jenkins threw out individual plot threads, which seemed unconnected to the central crime – upping the emotional investment you had in the characters, and adding more obstacles along their journey – until everything was brought together, using the climax as a tool to explain how each puzzle piece fit. What I thought was drama for the sake of tension, was actually unseen plot layers which folded together in a subtle, organic way. It eliminated that whole bad guy reveals his entire plan to the hero in the last 5 minutes with a long diatribe schtick.

The writing wasn’t anything special, but it also didn’t stick out as awkward or amatuer. This novel is made up of quiet and thoughtful prose, dedicated to exploring King and Lane and their process of investigating. The dialogue was used in the perfect way, expressing the scene instead of paragraphs of telling the scene. But, just a personal preference, I could have used a bit more description of both physical appearance and setting. I’ve never been to Wales, and when I read a book I hope to come away with a clear picture of what a place I’ve never been to might look like.

I appreciate the thought the author put into this, the execution of the ending and her dedication to a classic serial killer crime.

book source: Bookouture via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

🔪🔪🔪


Back of the Book:

When she woke, she found herself in darkness. She couldn’t move. She was going to die and she had no idea why…

Early one icy winter morning, Detective Alex King is called to a murder scene at a local park. The river is running high, and in the water lies the body of a woman, her wrists tied, and all her fingernails missing.

The victim, beautiful, young Lola Evans, had a troubled past, but Alex’s team can’t find a reason why anyone would want to kill her. The pressure to solve the case keeps mounting, but all their leads run dry. 

Then, another body is found in the water.

A disturbing clue suggests how the girls are connected. But who would target such vulnerable girls, and does this mean another life is at risk? Just when Alex thinks she has cracked the case, she realises one of her own team is in terrible danger.

Alex is caught in a race against time to reach the next victim before it’s too late… and some of her team must face terrifying truths from their own lives if they’re to have a chance of catching the killer. 

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