Review ~ Child’s Play by Merry Jones

Book: Child’s Play

Series: Elle Harrison Thriller #3

Author: Merry Jones

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Format/Page Count: Kindle, 307

Published: Oceanview Publishing, January 3, 2017

Source: Publisher

Since her husband’s murder two years earlier, life hasn’t been easy for Elle Harrison. Now, at the start of a new school year, the second grade teacher is determined to move on. She’s selling her house and delving into new experiences—like learning trapeze.

Just before the first day of school, Elle learns that a former student, Ty Evans, has been released from juvenile detention where he served time for killing his abusive father. Within days of his release, Elle’s school principal, who’d tormented Ty as a child, is brutally murdered. So is a teacher at the school. And Ty’s former girlfriend. All the victims have links to Ty.

Ty’s younger brother, Seth, is in Elle’s class. When Seth shows up at school beaten and bruised, Elle reports the abuse, and authorities remove Seth and his older sister, Katie, from their home. Is Ty the abuser?

Ty seeks Elle out, confiding that she’s the only adult he’s ever trusted. She tries to be open-minded, even wonders if he’s been wrongly condemned. But when she’s assaulted in the night, she suspects that Ty is her attacker. Is he a serial killer? Is she his next intended victim?

Before Elle discovers the truth, she’s caught in a deadly trap that challenges her deepest convictions about guilt and innocence, childhood and family. Pushed to her limits, she’s forced to face her fears and apply new skills in a deadly fight to survive.

I’m sorry but no. This book was a no for me. And so disappointing too because it had such promise. Such promise. The cover was creepy enough to get my attention, the plot was exciting enough to make me want to read, but the actual story? No. 

First off, I have to say it was very hard for me to believe that this was the third in a series which carries the same name of its heroine, Elle Harrison. With everything that she did, every choice that she went with, every thought that crossed her mind, it was hard to believe that she survived two  books before this. She was incompetent, forever doubting herself, and I’m sorry to say this but she did some pretty stupid things. I really didn’t want to use the word stupid, but honestly I have no alternative for some of the things she did.

She was not what I’d expect from a heroine who gave her name to the whole series. She certainly didn’t deserve that honor. I had no way to connect with her whatsoever, no small crack for me to crawl through and find some kind of redeeming characteristic. Anything. But alas, no. I found nothing. Nothing at all to make me care for her in any way. And that’s a shame in a book. When you can’t bring yourself to care for the main character.

I don’t know what happened in the previous books, or how Elle survived or solved the cases so far, but I’m certainly not interested. Sorry to say. Because this book seriously had great potential, it made me sad that the end result was this. It was an easy read though, I’ll give it that. The mystery was one I liked, a solid concept of serial killings that mystify a school teacher, her friends and colleagues and the police. But the execution? Failed. Big time. 

I’m adding one spoonful of this story into my hodgepodge, and wish Elle the best.

Elle Harrison Thriller series by Merry Jones:

  1. The Trouble With Charlie
  2. Elective Procedures
  3. Child’s Play

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