Saturday, September 19, 2009
Not for the meek at heart.
Emily Stone has a mission in life, she tracks down child killers and then anonymously emails evidence against them to the authorities to lead to the killer's arrest.
After one such report, she's run off the road in a hit and run accident. Her car is badly damaged and she's taken to the hospital. Officials want to know about the weapons and laptop in her car. She tells them it's because she's a writer. The weapons are registered and for safety, the laptop for writing.
When she arrives home, her neighbor and friend Theresa Blandon, tells her about a new neighbor, Donald Everett. He's crazy and has been intimidating the other neighbors.
Emily goes to the police department. She sees Det. Ray Lopez, who is looking at a homicide report when she arrives. Em tells Ray about Everett and asks him to run a check on him. At first Ray is preoccupied but later runs the check and sees many complaints against Everett. He knows Em has a right to be nervous but there isn't enough for a search warrant.
Emily is drawn to danger. She learns about a recent homicide and that it appears the work of two serial killers.
The reader doesn't know her motive at this point but she goes to the scene of the murder to look for clues. When she enters an old building, someone slams the door shut and locks it. Then she hears a dog and sees it's a pit bull who is trying to get into the building. Em notices that the walls are not that sturdy and kicks one out and gets to her car before the dog can reach her.
As if the scene with the dog wasn't enough foolishness, Emily dissatisfied with the police help, breaks into Everett's home. She searches the home and his computer and when he arrives, she surprises him, overcomes him and ties him up. She tries to threaten him and has a mask on but he recognizes her and she leaves.
What she thought she could accomplish isn't clear and leaving the crazy man near her neighbors was, at least, a careless act.
Ray has shown some interest at this time and seems drawn to Emily. She knows where he's staying and goes to his room. They talk and she tells him that the reason she seeks killers is that her parents were murdered and this is her promise to them, to catch other killers. Ray and Emily become intimate and she asks if he needs another pair of eyes to help his case.
"Compulsion" has good action and suspense but the protagonist's actions are bewildering. How could she go to a crime scene without her weapons? Also, how could this investigator not anticipate what Everett would do after she antagonized him?
That being said, it is also a hard story to read due to the sensitive material of serial killers who murder so easily. For those interested in crimes against women and those who can stomach serial killers, they would find the book interesting, other readers might find too much murder.