Pretty Corpse

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By Linda Berry



A serial rapist is terrorizing teens in San Francisco. Patrol officer Lauren Starkley finds herself involved with the third attack. Having a teen daughter of her own, she is now determined, against the advice and orders or those in charge of the investigation, to track down the culprit. Spending off hours talking to people and exploring the crime scene, she becomes the focus of the rapist.

I like the plot. It’s one with a dedicated and loyal cop after the bad guy. There’s a bit of romance and intrigue. My problem in this section (I guess it belongs here) is that the title doesn’t represent the plot. The only corpse is a cop who is shot.


Lauren Starkley: patrol officer, green eyes, 5’, drives a white Jeep Cherokee, widow, owns a cat, has a sister

Steve Santos: 40, partner of Lauren’s, solid frame, married with 2 children, thick dark hair

Lily Camino: police inspector, greying hair, brown eyes, wears glasses.

Jack Monetti: 40, police captain, dark hair, divorced with child, blue eyes, drives a Toyota Sequoia

Courtney Starkley: 14, Lauren’s daughter, red hair

Peter Duff: reporter, married with children

Some good characters. I wished Lily would have had more than one scene because she was the perfect authoritarian foil for Lauren’s bucking the system. She had one scene then left the story which made her background information moot. I thought she would play a more important role.

The other characters had good roles. Santos and another cop named Wong. There were others to make the sideline issues complete (Lauren’s parents, a teenage boy).


Pretty good voices. Santos and Wong sounded a bit similar. Lauren’s parents were good. Conversations didn’t wander and were kept fairly tight. The investigative side of police work sometimes gets technical, but there wasn’t any medicalese or scientific terms to worry about.


A small bit of profanity that probably could have been eliminated.

Other than that…well, I’m not sure what to write here. No grammar/punctuation/spelling errors that I could find. No improbable scenes or issues with time or action.

The amount of action was just about right and the tension might have been amped up a bit, but otherwise, it seemed to flow well.

I really don’t have any problems with this book. It’s a good, complete story. Okay, it doesn’t wow me to utter exhilaration, but I would read more of this author’s work. I think she has a grasp on solid writing and a decent story, and hope that she publishes more.

So, as to rank, I thought about Green, but based on the ‘clean’ writing and the fact I could sit back and enjoy the story without having to slog through errors and problems, I decided to bump it up.

My Rank:

Purple Belt