When thirteen-year-old Lainey fails to come home from a night out with friends, her disappearance is dismissed by the Coral Springs Police Department as just another disillusioned South Florida teen running away from suburban drama and an unhappy home life.
But Special Agent Bobby Dees, who heads up the department's difficult Crimes Against Children Squad (CAC), is not quite so sure. After a search of Lainey's computer and a frank talk with her best friend reveal the teen was involved in a secret Internet relationship, Bobby suspects Lainey may be the victim of an online predator. And when chilling evidence of other possible victims is sent to a local Miami television station, he fears she may not be the only one.
Bobby will find himself pulled into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the most prolific killer he's ever encountered. But will he be able to save Lainey and the others before it's too late?
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Jilliane Hoffman was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami between 1992 and 1996. Pretty Little Things is her fourth novel, following the international bestsellers Retribution, Last Witness, and Plea of Insanity. She lives in Florida.From Booklist:
They are, indeed, pretty little things: naive, vulnerable teenage girls who have gone missing, some lured by Internet predators, others runaways or throwaways. One of them is Katy, the daughter of Bobby Dees, a high-profile investigator for Florida’s Crimes against Children division. When Bobby begins to investigate the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl, his own loss threatens to overshadow his duty. Thanks in part to goading by an annoying reporter, Dees’s instincts eventually kick in, and he takes off in pursuit of a serial killer whose paintings of mutilated victims earn him the nickname Picasso. Could Katy be among the psycho’s trophies? The thought pushes Dees to the edge, while Picasso continues to kill. Hoffman, who doesn’t spare the gore, delivers some page-turning action here, incorporating an emotionally charged view of the enormous problems faced by missing teens (and those who hope to find them). There are some bumpy patches in the narrative, but this is still entertaining and suitable both for fans of conventional mysteries and for those who prefer high-adrenaline thrillers. —Stephanie Zvirin
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