The Stalker is too much like an 80s cop tv episode
by Sally Spencer
Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction (Adult)
Pub Date 22 Dec 2016
After being impressed by Spencer's new novel The Shivering Turn, I decided to try Stalker. It definitely isn't a novel for everyone. It reads like an American 80s cop drama ala Miami Vice - very stereotyped. Beth Baker is a criminal lawyer trying to make ends meet and care for her children after her husband's suicide. Brody and his partner are assigned to investigate her when a number of cases unexpectedly go her way. There are a few things which got under my skin. Brody is described as a good cop, but he and his partner plant drugs on a suspect and use threats to get him to talk. Once given the case, they automatically assume Beth's guilt looking only for evidence to arrest her. It is only after Brody becomes attracted to her that he believes she could be innocent - jeesh.
You have lots of cop drama stereotypes, an African American partner who goes with the flow, generic Hispanic gang members, a balaclava wearing religious nut who takes out all the gang members with a single machine gun..and you guessed it, the bad guy is the one person never questioned. If it was an hour tv episode it would be tolerable, but it is too dated in story and style for modern readers.
I received a copy of Stalker from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Since her husband’s suicide, Beth Baker has been living a life of quiet desperation…
She knows she is not spending enough time with her young children, nor enough at the law firm in which she is a junior partner.
The roof of her house leaks, the bills keep pouring in, and however hard she works, there is never enough money to go round. The future looks bleak.
Then – totally unexpectedly – life improves.
Her creditors are suddenly more patient and forgiving. And even more strikingly, she starts winning more cases in the criminal courts. Lots more cases!
Cases which everyone agrees she should never have won…
It is this improbable run of successes that sets warning bells ringing in the offices of the district attorney and the chief of police – which, in turn, leads to a reluctant Sergeant Sam Brody, being placed in charge of the investigation to find out who she is bribing.
But there are no bribes, nor have her creditors suddenly grown more charitable.
Acting behind the scenes – manipulating everything – is a man who likes to think of himself as her guardian angel.
On cold winter evenings, when she hurries from her car to the house – he is there.
On spring weekend afternoons, as she busies herself in her small garden – he follows her every move.
His mission is to protect her, and if, in the process, other people are hurt – or even end up dead – that is fine with him.
But Beth must be careful. It won’t take much to turn her protector into a tormentor…
The Stalker is a fast-paced crime thriller that delves deep and examines how people can commit acts of pure evil in the name of divine justice.