Avid Series Reader's Reviews > Judas Child

Judas Child by Carol O'Connell
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Judas Child by Carol O'Connell is a standalone mystery thriller equally as complex, gripping and suspenseful as her Kathleen Mallory series. A small town in New York state has an academy for extremely bright, unusual children. A few days before Christmas, two ten-year-old girls go missing. The incident reminds young local police officer Rouge Kendall of his twin sister Susan's kidnapping and murder 15 years ago.

Forensic psychologist Ali Cray is an expert on a particular long-standing crime pattern: two children kidnapped, one used as "bait" to get the second. Ali comes to Maker's Village to join local police, state police and FBI on the case. She believes this crime is linked to many past crimes - and the perpetrator is a local resident. Everyone who meets the striking Ali wonders: how did she get her disfiguring scar? No one remembers - but Rouge discovers - she used to attend school there.

Paul Marie has been in prison 15 years for Susan's kidnap murder (her bracelet was found in his room). He has never stopped proclaiming his innocence. None believed him before, but Rouge and Ali believe him now.

Rouge, Susan and their parents used to be a wealthy family. Since Susan's death, and the payment of her gigantic ransom, Rouge and his mother Ellen have lived very quietly and frugally, keeping the house by selling off its expensive contents. Former journalist Ellen drowned her grief in alcohol for years, but her investigative skills shine once again as she digs into the missing girls case.

FBI agent Arnie Pyle has his own agenda, more interested in bringing down the governor and lieutenant governor for mob ties, than in finding the lieutenant governor's kidnapped daughter. Arnie also has an unrequited passion for Ali (their past history never explained).

Ali's uncle Dr. Mortimer Cray practices psychiatry in Maker's Village. One of his patients is likely the murderer. Mortimer is not willing to break patient confidentiality, even to save the lives of the missing girls. His guilt over upholding his rigid code of ethics while victims die is unhinging his mind.

The investigation takes many twists and turns, seeming to uncover red herrings, such as blackmail. But as Christmas Day arrives, the many plot threads rapidly converge.

In parallel to the law enforcement/parents' search for the girls, the story reveals the victims' suffering, attempts to escape, and grim consequences.

The story is a true page-turner all the way, but from its midpoint on, plan to stay up very late reading! Be sure to read the Epilogue...for the final surprise.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 29, 2019 – Finished Reading
November 30, 2019 – Shelved

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