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Thursday, April 13, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: The Trophy Taker by Sarah Flint

The Trophy Taker by Sarah Flint
Aria Books

Fans of police procedurals will love this book.  Haven't read the first? No problem! This can read as a stand alone!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

He's watching, waiting... and counting. The next gripping seriel killer read in the DC 'Charlie' Stafford series, from the Bestselling author of MUMMY'S FAVOURITE.

He keeps each floating in Formaldehyde to stop them from rotting. Each finger denotes a victim, tortured and butchered, their heart ripped out and discarded, replaced instead by symbols of their treachery. He sits alone admiring his trophies weekly; each and everyone of them guilty in his eyes. And now more must pay. 

But who or what links the victims?

DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford is already investigating a series of escalating racist attacks and it now seems she has a vicious serial killer on her patch. With no leads and time running out, the team at Lambeth are at near breaking point. 

Something has to give... and all the while he's watching, waiting... and counting.

Jessica's Thoughts:
3.5 / 5 Stars

The Trophy Taker by Sarah Flint was a book I didn't know anything about besides the title. So I went into it not knowing what to expect. I enjoyed it! I was nervous seeing that it was book two for D.C. Charlotte Stafford though - not all are good as a standalone, but I think this one did a good job!
"He's watching, waiting...and counting". Creepy, right? Love the tagline for this book.
DC Charlie Stafford is back! While investigating a series of escalating racist attacks, there seems to be a new serial killer gaining some momentum. Each victim is found with their heart ripped out, and replaced by symbols of their treachery, and then each are missing a finger. Hence the title, trophy taker. None of the victims are linked to each other by any person or event, so DC Stafford has her work cut out for her this time!
Even though it is book two, I didn't seem to find myself as lost as I have been in some detective novels (at least when I unknowingly start in the middle of a series). Flint did a great job making a strong female lead. I've always enjoyed a good mystery/thriller with a strong female lead (whether she's the detective, villain, or 'victim') that you felt connected with. A serial killer that's incredibly demented, strong female lead, and I wasn't able to predict the ending (always a major plus!) were things that I loved about this. However, the downsides, there were SO many characters that needed to be kept straight. That got confusing in parts of the book - especially because there were two stories going on (the main story about the serial killer and then the racial attacks).
Overall, a great police procedural. Anyone that is a fan, will definitely enjoy this one! It was a quick read and I liked the plot. I loved DC Stafford, so I'll definitely be looking into book one!
I give this 3.5/5 stars!

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Sam's Thoughts:
3 / 5 Stars

The Trophy Taker by Sarah Flint is the second novel in the DC Charlotte Stafford series.   I hadn’t read the first book in this series, which I always worry will be an issue, but I didn’t find that I had an issue navigating Stafford’s backstory or the story of her team.  This novel can be read as a standalone.

The novel opens with a particularly vicious serial killer who tortures his victims, removes their hearts from their bodies and takes one of their fingers for his own personal collection.  He is a trophy taker.   Stafford and her team are baffled by these killings, as the victimology is completely different; there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to the killings or how he is choosing his victims.   Stafford is forced to press her limits and dig deep to find the perpetrator.

Stafford as a lead character was awesome, I am always a huge fan of anything with a strong, female protagonist and Stafford fit that mould.  In fact, I was impressed with how much diversity Flint brought into this police procedural, especially in regards to the secondary storyline with the racial attacks. 

My biggest complaint with this novel was how much was actually going on.  Besides the main story and the secondary plot, there were, what felt like, one million characters and one million possibilities happening.  By the end, when the perpetrator was finally revealed, I had to flick back pages and try to reconnect everything because the number of characters had me confused. 

Overall, I did enjoy the plot and feel that any fans of police procedurals will enjoy this real.  It’s fast-paced, realistic and had an extremely likeable lead!  I gave this one 3/5 stars.

Follow Sam on InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and her Blog!

My Thoughts:
3 / 5 Stars

Book 2 in the DC Charlotte Stafford series brings us a serial killer who takes the ring finger of each victim as a memento. He leaves behind victims with their chests open, hearts taken out and thrown and leaves "symbols of their treachery". He has a list of people who at one point or another have metaphorically ripped out his heart so he's returning the favor. DC Stafford is baffled as each victim is so different from the other. On top of this, she is also tracking a racist man who is addicted to drugs and attacking minorities for little reward to get his next fix. 

A typical police procedural, this could also work as a standalone. I never felt lost in the characters or their backgrounds from missing the first book. This book starts out with a bang and the killer is quite demented, something I always like in a storyline. I did feel it began to get a bit repetitive and there were too many characters introduced that I got a tad bit confused with where the finale came from. I certainly didn't figure out who the killer ended up being which is always a nice surprise. While the racial attacks were the secondary storyline, I felt myself preferring that over the main premise and would have liked to have delved more into this. Fans of police procedurals with a strong female lead will definitely take a liking to this novel. 

3 stars and a big thank you to Aria!

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