Ebook review: The Scavenger’s Song by Sara Marie Hogg


From the dust cover: “CAN THEY MAKE THE MADNESS END? TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

The Scavenger’s Song introduces us to ace homicide detectives, Angus
Carlyle and Skeeter Sherwood. The Austin PD is stumped by numerous disappearances of young women in a seedy, neon-lit area downtown. The scavenger is doing his chilling, evil deeds, but no bodies can be found. Until they can produce bodies, technically, no homicides have actually been committed. One day the disappearances end. Where is the serial killer? His absence lasts for over ten years. When the scavenger finally sings, Angus and Skeeter are confident the case is arriving at its conclusion.
Now what did he do with the bodies? Bones begin presenting themselves in
the most macabre ways. The scavenger’s method of disposing of the human evidence is not to be believed. Along the twisted, torturous path, Angus is maimed and Skeeter is almost destroyed. Can they claw their way back up to be productive and sharp once again? Let’s hope so–a whole new series of murders is occurring right under their noses and they are probably the only ones who can make the madness end. Good detective work, hunches, psychics, long shots, the words of a bug man–they must hurry. Time is running out.”
My Ebook review: crime thriller books are rather popular and it is difficult to stand out from the crowd. Each author must create believable good guys and bad guys and a crime or set of crimes that grabs attention. There is a risk of a type of inflation in the bizarreness of the crimes and the splendour of the skills of the investigators. Just now the second series of Hannibal has just aired and the local boy Mads Mikkelsen is starting to spread his wings into that famous role while Will Graham uses his tenuous grip on reality to ‘solve’ the ever more gruesome murders. Personally I find it a disappointing series even though the acting is good, the suave menace of Hannibal has not yet been allowed to run free, the intellect is still hidden.
Sara Marie Hogg has chosen what at first seems to be a mundane set of crimes and develops it into a well developed crime thriller. Angus and Skeeter are low grade mavericks whose choices get them into trouble. Really, though we get a limited insight into their characters. We learn more about the Scavenger and as time goes by it is possible to admire the ingenuity of the protracted and delicate plan that has been devised.
The good guys Angus and Skeeter have their share of knocks and good fortune, they make leaps of faith. There is a bit of forensic science that reads too good to be true but in the spirit of the story it actually works quite well and is a vignette that helps the book. There is also a nod to the paranormal which is limited enough that it does not become overbearing or absurd.
Does “The Scavenger’s Song” stand out from the crowd in the crime thriller section? It did in the sense that I wanted to keep reading and the pace was rapid and constant to the end. It does in the sense that it did not attempt to ‘out gore’ the competition. There is no attempt to be just that bit more bizarre and horrible. The good guys were not fully developed and so one fills them in with stereotypes, but this is something that the author can build on in future books. So overall, this is a well paced crime thriller, a good read and a fine debut for Angus and Skeeter.

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