The Next Accident
I gave this book a C. For page-turning suspense and police procedure accuracy, the book certainly deserves an A. For the problems I encountered in not having read its prequel, the issues I had with the female protagonist, as well as its over-the-top heartbreak, this book deserves an F. So, C is the median grade, but doesn’t really represent anything other than that.
The Next Accident is clearly a direct sequel to this author’s last book, The Third Victim. The only problem is, I didn’t read TTV, so I was more than a little lost. The Next Accident doesn’t work as a stand-alone, especially since the central characters are the male and female protagonists of the first book. The Next Accident picks up the relationship (well, non-relationship) a few months after the culmination of the first book. Very little back-story is provided for these two characters, and I felt like I was missing a lot by not having read the first book. Many readers will no doubt feel that if a book is part of a series, it should not be graded down if the reviewer has not read the earlier entries. At AAR, we believe each book should stand on its own.
Thirty-two year old Rainie Connor is a former Oregon policewoman who has left the force and is now operating as a PI. She’s tough, gritty, smart-mouthed, and I really didn’t care for her very much. Whatever happened to her to make her that way must have been examined in the first book because I only got hints of it here, which was very frustrating and kept Rainie at an arm’s length throughout the book.
The hero, fortysomething Pierce Quincy, is an FBI profiler who lives in NY. Highly educated, intense, intelligent, and detached, Quincy is an expert in human motivations and the criminal mind. He’s divorced from Bethie, and has two daughters, one who is just like him (Kimberly), and one who has drifted away (Mandy). The book begins when recovering alcoholic Mandy is cruelly manipulated by her lover to drink heavily and then get into her car. Disaster results, which is exactly what the “lover” wanted.
This unknown man is out to ruin Quincy by taking away from him everyone he has ever loved. And he does. After he destroys Mandy, he focuses his attention on the remaining members of Quincy’s family. The body count in The Next Accident is high. If you’re not into the horrible effects a cruel lunatic can have on an entire family of nice people, you might want to skip this one.
The killer is close but nobody knows who he is. There is a large cast of secondary characters, including a smart lady FBI agent who suddenly gets a severe case of the stupids at just the wrong time. Rainie’s former colleagues from the first book appear, but I guess there was more about them in that book, because they are not fleshed out very well here.
As far as any relationship between Rainie and Quincy, there’s not a whole lot there. Suspense with a man/woman sub-plot can be quite effective if there is chemistry between them and the characters are likable. Unfortunately, Rainie is so crustie and standoffish and Quincy enough older than her as to make their relationship a difficult one to navigate on a day-to-day basis. There’s no sense that in the next book that will presumably follow, they’ll remain together.
For those who are looking for an accurate police procedural, a smart stalker who knows how to dig in and hurt people, a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat page turner that will keep you up all night, then this is your book. When it comes to suspense, this one is top-notch.
If you’re looking for a suspense novel that delivers on its romance sub-plot or even a suspense novel featuring lead characters you’ll come to care about, you’ll need to look elsewhere. I never felt even remotely close to these characters and am not certain they feel particularly close to each other. Kimberly is the exception. She was okay in my book and a sequel for her would not be a surprise.
Sorry I couldn’t be more definitive, but this book just didn’t do it for me. It left me feeling empty and sad rather than satisfied or fulfilled. If I want to get depressed, I’ll read Chekov. I’ve tried to give you the plusses and the minuses from my POV; now it’s up to you to choose.