Like a songwriter who writes his chorus before he discovers his verse, I rarely ever start a mystery/thriller series at the beginning. ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS is no exception to this rule; however, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed J.T. Ellison‘s debut novel. Sure, it’s easy to make the argument that this book was a bit formulaic at times, but unless you write literary fiction, what book isn’t? With only 20 plots (or 3 or 7 or 36, depending on whom you ask) to work with, it’s not like authors have an abundance of choices out there. What it really boils down to is character and storytelling ability. And I’d say Ms. Ellison has both in spades.
Lieutenant Taylor Jackson and Dr. John Baldwin made the story interesting for me, even if they weren’t quite fully-formed, and I gathered pages the way a squirrel might gather nuts. I was suspended and dangling, although I still had a firm grip on reality.
Even as I reached the end, I found myself wanting more, of these characters and of this city. But I didn’t find myself craving more dead bodies. All in all I’ll be interested to see where this series goes next.