This is post number 25.
This is the first novel of a series by Stacy Green.
Plot:Former CPS agent Lucy Kendall starts taking the law into her own hands, but when girl goes missing, an old case puts her vigilante streak on hold. Will Lucy be able to find the missing Kailey before Lucy gets caught?
“A group of laughing young women strode into Chetter’s, and for a moment, I was painfully aware I was becoming invisible. At thirty-three, I’m nowhere near old, but the sight of them reminded me how quickly time races forward. Tan and toned, every one of them still had the glorious firmness of their early twenties instead of the creeping softness of the thirties. The women commanded the attention of all the straight men in the bar. Except for Steve. He never noticed the hot women.”
Spoilers/Opinion: Pretty much everyone in this novel either is a victim of childhood sexual abuse, violent crime, or both, so everyone feels heavy. Lucy is a serial killer, and that is not a spoiler. She tries to kill someone in the first twenty or so pages in a manner that I do not understand. Her method of killing someone is to splash cyanide on them and hope they don’t remove their clothes for twenty minutes. Having watched too much CSI as a kid, I think she could find a cleaner and more sure way to kill someone without being caught. Lucy justifies murder by only killing confirmed pedophiles that escaped prison sentences, which is why she left CPS. I feel like she should just present her evidence to the courts since it is pretty solid but that would be boring apparently. This does help with the sense of urgency though, since Lucy is trying to work fast before cops start to notice her body count.
Early on, a girl named Kailey goes missing, and Lucy suspects Justin, a former case from her CPS days. Here is where I think the plot goes wonky. Justin allegedly committed his crime of killing and raping his friend when he was ten, in a manner that few ten year olds would have the strength and thought to accomplish. For some reason, no one questioned that he did it, and he served some time in juvie. Lucy thinks Justin is the worst thing ever despite the strange circumstances of his case and the fact that he had not committed a violent crime after the incident. Even I could see that he probably didn’t kill his friend ten years ago and would not be stupid enough to kidnap a girl in his neighborhood, and I have the detective prowess of a nose deaf blood hound. The worst part is Lucy is hung up on Justin until over half way through the novel when other suspects should be questioned. I know it’s not him, just move on!
The ending has a bit of a twist, but it does not feel satisfying. Justin reveals that his mother Mary was responsible for the death and post-mortem rape of his friend, but he was too scared to confess. Chris, Lucy’s ally, reveals that he and Justin had the same mother, and she was also just as abusive to Chris as she was Justin. They track down Mary, thinking she has Kailey, when they see that she set her house on fire. The police find the body of a child and man inside but cannot confirm it is Kailey. But wait, apparently Steve, one of Lucy’s targets, has had Kailey the whole time and was going to sell her on the dark web. What? This ending saddened me because if Lucy wasn’t hung up on Justin in the first place and killed someone when she planned to this whole story wouldn’t have happened. It’s hard to describe, but I feel like the author wanted to leave the door open with Mary, but still have a “happy” ending with Kailey being found and was running out of steam. If the body was Kailey, the ending would feel more satisfying, though sad, and Mary would still be a threat for a sequel.
Ratings: This is a Mystery novel, so the ratings are as follows
Problem Solving/ Finding Info: 3/10
Sense of Danger/ Urgency: 9/10
Overall, I give All Good Deeds a 5/10. The sense of urgency is there, but the protagonist was too hung up on one suspect to make the plot interesting. The twist fell flat and could have been fixed if it didn’t have a final turn.
Green, Stacy. All Good Deeds: a gritty psychological thriller (The Lucy Kendall Series Book 1) (pp. 3-4). Twisted Minds Press. Kindle Edition.