“There she sat, unaware of how close the game was to beginning. It was just a matter of time now before he would let her know he existed. Let her know that he knew what she really was.”
Stalking Sapphire, by Mia Thompson
Diversion Books, April 2013
184 pages (ebook)
Despite the illusion Sapphire Dubois presents to the rest of the world, she is not just your stereotypical 22-year old Beverly Hills heiress; she hunts serial killers. While her fellow heirs spend their nights with trending celebs and drugs at the hottest club, Sapphire secretly spends hers luring, capturing, and anonymously handing over So-Cal’s most wanted killers to the police — just your average Tuesday night.
What Sapphire doesn’t know is that one of her adversaries is watching her every move, aware of both her true identity and her unconventional hobby. Needless to say, he doesn’t approve. Used to being the one who redefines the definition of predator and prey, Sapphire’s world abruptly shatters when a gruesome “gift” arrives for her at the Beverly Hills Country Club. With her involuntary crush, handsome Detective Aston Ridder, close on her tail, Sapphire now has to rethink her routine strategy and figure out how to capture a killer who already knows she’s coming.
*** I requested this review copy through NetGalley. ***
This book reads almost like an urban fantasy, but without the fantasy. I make the comparison primarily because of the main character. The urban fantasy novels that I’ve read all have at their center these strong young women who may not always make the smartest decisions but do the best they can given their unique situations. Although the details of this plot were focused on real world problems, the overall feel was very similar.
I couldn’t connect with Aston, the male lead, at all. I warmed up to him a little by the end, but that was more because he was acting like a different character, instead of a guy who’d learned some things and matured along the way. This was probably my biggest problem with the book.
Sapphire, on the other hand, was pretty well developed, and I admired her resolve. The one thing I wanted more of was why she does the things she does. She likens herself to a superhero, and even keeps up a “secret identity,” including people and activities that a rich spoiled girl should be concerning herself with. The serial killers aside, it’s obvious that Sapphire doesn’t fit into this Beverly Hills life, but she keeps up the pretense so no one has any reason to suspect that she’s as different as she is. It makes for some decent conflict when her worlds collide… but we never really get the why?
I was worried about the length, as it’s obviously shorter than most books I read, but surprisingly it never felt like we were rushing, or that there was a lack of development in the plot. And thankfully, Thompson brings the mystery to a proper conclusion before leaving some more character-focused threads hanging to set up for a sequel. It’s a major pet peeve of mine when authors decide that a cliffhanger means leaving major plots unresolved, especially for a first book in a series. I get that they want to entice me to read more, but if it’s a good book that I connect with, I’ll want to read more. And if they absolutely must end with a cliffhanger, there’s a right and wrong way to do it. Not giving me a satisfying conclusion is the wrong way; it feels like a cheap trick.
But I’m getting off track here… as I said, this book doesn’t do that.
Overall, I thought this was a refreshing change of pace in a primarily male-dominated genre. I rather liked seeing the kick-ass heroine figure brought into a new setting, and those who enjoy urban fantasy for those lead female characters as much as the supernatural should give it a try.
Stalking Sapphire isn’t available in print, unfortunately, though it is available for Kindle, Nook, and other readers.
Does this sound like something you’d pick up? And what are some other books with strong female leads you’d recommend?