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The Girls He Adored (E.L. Pender #1)

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,723 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
For ten years, the charmingly disheveled veteran FBI Special Agent E.L. Pender has been investigating the apparently random disappearances of a dozen women across the country. The only detail the cases have in common is the strawberry blond color of the victims' hair, and the presence of a mystery man with whom they were last seen.

Then, in Monterey, California, a routine t
Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published November 3rd 2001 by Atria Books (first published 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This book appealed to my psychology background and was a real treat. Nasaw does a great job at creating a character who suffers from both the controversial Dissociative Identity Disorder phenomena and all of the implications that go with the disorder, and meshed it so brilliantly with Antisocial Personality Disorder in such a believable way. Max actually reminded me of a new and more twisted Hannibal Lector.

What I loved about this book is the amount of time and detail the author spends developi
This started off as a four, by halfway had evolved into a three, and by the end had plummeted to a two.

While the writing is competent enough, a story with tons of promise is ruined by plain silliness.(view spoiler)
Jan 11, 2011 Maicie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-in-2011
Ed Pender, a frumpish special agent, is a bit of a joke at the FBI. He's spent years searching for a serial killer who favors strawberry blonds. Unfortunately, no bodies have ever been recovered and no one takes the agent seriously.

During a routine traffic stop, a deputy pulls over a man sitting next to a recently disemboweled woman with strawberry blond hair. Pender is sure this is his man. But before he can make the connection stick, the prisoner escapes. He kidnaps Dr. Irene Cogan, the court
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
4.5 rating for this. Also what do I say after reading this? Of course it would be a suggestion from GR, thanks a lot. Though it helps I heard nothing about this series.

Been reading suspense reads lately which was mostly for the Halloween month but now looks like I'm curious as to reading a bunch of these series I started.

This was a what did I just read kind of book. And yet I couldn't stop reading. It got weird, it got um what and what just happened moments. Oh and let's add creepy to that list
Feb 02, 2011 Christie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Years ago I read the Dean Koontz book, Intensity. It was freakin’ terrifying. I generally find Koontz to be a pretty reliable writer- delivering fast-paced and exciting suspense, sometimes with a dash of the supernatural. (Of late I find him a little wordy, but never mind that.)

I was hoping Nasaw’s book would offer me the same thrill ride as Intensity, you know- one of those page-turners that you carry with you everywhere and can’t put down. The Girls He Adored is well-written (as these sorts of
Franzie Lovegood
Nov 04, 2010 Franzie Lovegood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Girls He Adored is a very different thriller. I think, it's one of the most unique thrillers I have ever read.

I really liked Maxwell Ulysses. He has DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and has multiple "sub-personalities". When he is caught killing a young woman in his car, it's Kinch (the killer part) that has control. But there are switches. Lots of switches. Controllable switches, and uncontrollable ones. It's difficult to describe this disease. There are also Lyssy, the little kid, Alic
Brandi ;)
ummm, well....hmmm....I'm really at a loss for words here on how to review this book. It was very disturbing, hard to read but at the same time it was like the proverbial train wreck, you just couldn't look away, you just had to see and know what happened.
You know the deal on the book so i don't feel a need to rehash the whole DID psychotic details. What I feel the need to share is why on earth I could say I 'really like it' & give the book 4 stars when the abuse to women was terrible and e
Sep 16, 2010 Goodenough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One cannot find a better thriller.

If you live on the Central Coast of California you will really love The Girls, as the action takes place there--between Big Sur and San Francisco with a jaunt to Oregon.

Nasaw is a much better writer than, say J. Patterson, who actually is a corporation of writers--how's that work?!

Nasaw develops his characters with great detail and depth. I've read some reviews by folks who are upset that he "gave away the ending", failing to understand that Nasaw writes psycho
This was a very dark and twisted read. "Max" is violent psychopath suffering from DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) who is fixated on strawberry blonds. Nasaw does an incredible job telling the story from his, and his many personalities, point of view. It starts off a little difficult to keep them all straight but then you get into the flow and it becomes impossible to put the book down.

I would have given this book a four or even five star rating, because it was superbly creepy and entertaini
Rebecca McNutt
The Girls He Adored is a pretty good mystery novel; although it was rather generic it still had many great things about it that made it worth reading.
Apr 30, 2016 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow...this book was brilliant. It was definitely not for the faint of heart...and i'll probably regret reading it at night but i just couldn't quit once i started. This was definitely more thriller than mystery in the sense of other than one small detail I knew how everything was going to play out but it somehow still managed to be quite suspenseful. The characters were very rich and though I would have liked a little more history/description of the alters overall they were well developed. The D ...more
Erin McGowan
Apr 10, 2016 Erin McGowan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my absolute favourite book. It was given to me when I was 14 years old, and I've read it every year since.

It's about a serial killer that only goes after a certain type of female. Oh boy, this book just makes me so happy. The first time I read it, I devoured it in a day. Holy hell do I regret that. I wish that I'd taken my time to read it, because no matter how hard I try, I can never read it for the first time, ever again. I wish I could. This book is so great that I wish I could delet
Apr 05, 2012 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scary, mindfuck
This is a great scary book! I actually read this book years ago and I forgot the name of it and for the last year I have been trying to figure out the name of this book so I could read it again. I was so happy when I finally found it! This is such a weird plot and just very disturbing, but so original I couldn't help but be intrigued. I'm super excited to see that there is another book in this series. If you like scary books then this one is a keeper!
Mar 08, 2015 Helene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It reminded me of Silence of The Lambs, without the tension and suspense that Thomas Harris is so good at creating.
Ulysses Christopher Maxwell has been stopped by police and sitting next to him in the passenger seat a disemboweled strawberry blonde. The FBI believe he is responsible for a series of murders they have never made public.
However Ulysses claims amnesia. He says he has no recollection of harming the girl. Enter Dr. Irene Coogan court appointed Forensic Psychologist to verify DID or mu
Lori Strode
Looking for a good serial killer book and I came across this, it is very descriptive and goes into the psychology behind the killer, which I always enjoy. The only thing is that E.L Pender is quite a dull character, and his segments contrast quite a bit with Max's rampage across the US. Reading the sequel, that problem is even more present, but that's going to be elaborated on in the review for that. I finished it in two days, it's quick and not too heavy for a weekend or for when you have a few ...more
Aug 14, 2015 Terrin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It takes a lot for me to devote a day to begin a book,then realize I will finish it the same day,
there were many weird turns and dynamics,A good ,scarey,fast paced, hold on tight read.

The information on multiple personality disorder,or also known as altars, was enough to be engageing,yet not bog you down with to much
psycho-bable, I especially liked how the many altars switched in and out.

The plot from beginning to end was captivating,
This author is gifted,twisted,engageing,and a great mind for t
Feb 26, 2013 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Manske
This was an intriguing book that gave readers a chance to climb into the head of a psychotic serial killer who suffers from dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities). At first it was difficult to keep all of the different personalities straight. But as the book unfolds, each personality takes on distinctive characteristics and mannerisms, making it much easier to tell them apart. The descriptions of the personalities felt very realistic and was very creepy; Nasaw did an excellent j ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2013 Voiceofmadness rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nasaw does an excellent job in convincing the reader about his villian who suffers from (violent) multiple personalities. I've never read a book quite like this before where the badguy is so believable and so well concieved that this man could possible exist. I often had to stop reading just because I got so creeped out. Bravo for this genre on that point.

The negative part I complain about is clear in the language--specifically the large words. The author uses terminology a normal person (with n
Nov 19, 2013 Levian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FBI agent Pender had been investigating the random disappearances of women across the country. among the women, their only common characteristic was their strawberry blond hair. Max was an intelligent killer who suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder. he staged a jailbreak and kidnapped Irene, his court-appointed psychiatrist. she was kept in a secluded shelter away from civilization. she analyzed Max's various personalities, some viewed her as his prisoner, and others his salvation. she kn ...more
Crystal Dover
Jan 17, 2015 Crystal Dover rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first "J.Nasaw book". Is definitely a thriller, a different kind of thriller. This book gives great insight into the world of DID, better known as, Multiple Personality Disorder. The main character, Max, has plenty of " alters" that keep you reading. I really enjoyed this book and do recommend it to others, that have an interest in this type of thriller.
C. Meine
Apr 02, 2014 C. Meine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is, hands down, my favorite book in recent years. As a psychology graduate, I found this book not only thrilling and extremely entertaining, but also amazingly accurate and not full of "fluff" for the sake of being shocking. It is a very dark, twisted book but it is executed phenomenally. I absolutely could not put it down to save my life.
Kari Gulbrandsen
Did not care for this at all ... The opening where the court-appointed psychologist is flirting (or getting turned on) by the prisoner just seemed so far fetched. And then the violence ... seemed like a lot of gratuitous violence toward women. I have a pretty strong stomach but I had trouble with this one. Glad to be rid of it.
Jul 09, 2015 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A terrific book! A D.I.D. serial killer and rapist being chased by a F.B.I. agent sounds like a great book and it definitely is. The details are very gory at times and the horror and suspense are superb! I could not put this book down.
Dec 29, 2015 Stina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a 4 star story, but it gets only 2 from me because the audio version is abridged, which I only learned that after listening to the whole damn thing. I had borrowed the audiobook from the library and nowhere in the description does it say it was an abridged version. Nor does it announce that in the opening credits. Instead, they wait until the closing credits to tell the listener that. Which pisses me off to no end. If you want to abridge a book for audio purposes, that's your prerogative ...more
Sep 15, 2014 Tamara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very dark and disturbing novel. You are reading along and you think how can they make this up, then you realize they probably don't that it is a compilation of true events. Very well done.
Darlene Holley
Jan 24, 2016 Darlene Holley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good have you on the edge of your seat suspense story about a serial killer with multiple personalities. It will keep you reading to find out what happens next.
Barbara Schweitzer
Interesting serial killer story but way too much about the multiple personalities of the killer--very far-fetched and became annoying--will not read others by this author.
Dec 04, 2015 Evelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Girls He Adored by Jonathan Nasaw. The way the Author wrote this book really made it interesting. I would find myself saying I'll read just one more chapter.
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Jonathan Nasaw is the acclaimed author of Fear Itself and The Girls He Adored, both Literary Guild Selections. He lives in Pacific Grove, California.

* E.L. Pender
* James Whistler
More about Jonathan Nasaw...

Other Books in the Series

E.L. Pender (5 books)
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  • Twenty Seven Bones
  • When She Was Bad
  • The Boys from Santa Cruz

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