They Never Die Quietly by D.M. Annechino~Review

06 March 2013

Title: They Never Die Quietly
Author: D.M. Annechino
Series: Sami Rizzo (#1)
Publisher: AmazonEncore
Date: February 16th 2010
Pages: 279
ISBN: 9780982555033
Source: Print ARC from publisher
Purchase: They Never Die Quietly
They Never Die Quietly tells the story of homicide Detective Sami Rizzo, who is assigned to head a task force investigating serial killings in San Diego.

Simon, the highly intelligent, cunning, and deceptively charming villain, redefines the depths of human evil. He believes God has given him absolute authority to purify his unholy victims through a ritual that ends in a grisly crucifixion. Driven by warped religious beliefs and guided by his dead mother, very much alive in his subconscious, Simon abducts “chosen ones” and holds them captive in a Room of Redemption. There, the victims helplessly await their crucifixion.

Detective Rizzo urgently yearns to solve the case and gain the respect of her male colleagues, but her obsession to apprehend the killer on her own clouds her thinking. When Simon outsmarts Rizzo and captures her, determined to make her his next victim, she must employ all her resources—both physical and intellectual—to outwit the villain at his own game.

My Thoughts:

With plenty of gore and the inside perspective of a serial killer's mind, this crime thriller is all of disturbing, shockingly gruesome, and edgy; I was quite pleased. Sami Rizzo of the major offense squad in homicide has worked herself to the bone to get where she is today. As a single-parent of a cherished two-year-old and the dependent of her mother's daycare services, she's got a lot to work for, and even more expectations to live up to. She's damn good at her job, and she's never questioned it, until one case—surrounding a monster brutally crucifying mothers in front of their young children, although the children are returned unharmed and unable to remember anything—begins involving her emotionally. She knows she can't get personally involved with crime cases, but she can't help it. These victims could be her, these innocent children, her own daughter. It isn't until her clever, sly, and charming suitor, Simon, reveals himself to her fully, that she realizes this nightmare could actually become reality.

Don't worry, that wasn't a spoiler. The identity of the murderer is meant to be known from the beginning, although Sami doesn't know it until the end. This sense of dramatic irony propels readers to keep reading in order to find out what Simon will do next... and what Sami will do, or won't do, to stop him.

They Never Die Quietly is definitely not for the faint of heart—even the title and cover show how grisly the villainy is. Simon is a wicked, incredibly well-developed serial killer. I got chills reading from his third-person perspective, just because of how wrongful, but so realistic—so normal—he sounds.

The book itself was a quick read, but the story has me ailing: it's way too idealized. I feel like Sami was led straight to Simon with no false leads, no red herrings, no real barriers along the way. This would never happen in a real crime investigation. The storyline cuts to the chase way too quickly. For example: Sami notices a cross pendant around Simon's neck; he must be the religious fanatic in the news. Sami sees his car; that's the car the serial killer allegedly drives. Simon's sensitive about rape; he must have been abused or must like abusing. I kept thinking, "How the heck is she so precise??" Either she's a telepath or Annechino skimped on the mystery factor big time. There essentially is no room for speculation; it's like Sami already has all the answers—no suspense in that department. I know this may have been a ploy to express Sami's paranoia (and maybe even her intrinsic shrewdness), but for me it made the plot foreseen and unreasonably clean.

Sami's mother and partner in crime, Al, are likable secondary characters. Her daughter, Angelina, is adorable, but highly uncharacteristic, speaking and behaving like a five-year-old, when she's only two. There was also a starry romance weaved into the book. While I appreciate how Sami's personal life was highlighted, it unnecessary and unwelcome. Why, oh WHY do suspense/thriller protagonists feel the need to have love interests?? Sami is independent and perfect on her own! However, I was amused by the occasional witty banter that came from the flirting, so I guess I won't complain too much.

Aside from Annechino's affinity for terrible clich├ęs, the writing style is lively, descriptive, and connected. It's easy to follow the mystery, and questions are answered as they arise.

Now, let's talk the ending. After such a twisted, disturbing story set, I expected some brilliant solution to the problem, an unthinkable act of courage from Sami and her crew to outwit the monster that's holding her captive. Nope. It's disappointing as hell and, frankly, just crap. The loose ends are, again, tied way too cleanly, and Sami also just happens to gain fruitfully once she's rescued. Hello? Is this a fairytale? I must say I was annoyed by the ending, and it's the main reason this book wasn't rated higher.

As a whole, though, the imaginative premise, the thrilling plot, and the realistic characters make this one pretty enjoyable. I'll never forget its plot, that's for sure.

My Rating:


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