I’m completely bemused that none of the other reviews I’ve looked at for this book seem to have picked up on the absolutely ENORMOUS plot hole I noticed. In fact, I was so bemused by it I went back and read the sections concerned several times, and then went googling to check I was correct in what I thought was the case.
DNA taken in criminal cases (such as rapes) is run, in the US, against a database called CODIS, maintained by the FBI at a national level (NDIS) since 1998 in order to assist in connecting cases which take place in different states.
Now, all the action in this book takes place in one small town, with three rapes and one murder (to start) all linked by DNA. But later on, murders in other states are linked by searches through ViCAP, which is basically a search for similarities in method of attack, and THEN by DNA. Which... does not compute. DNA in murder cases would AUTOMATICALLY be run against the NDIS, and as soon as three cases in different states are flagged, that makes it serial killer territory, which means the FBI should have been all over this perp long ago. The second the DNA from these cases hit NDIS, there should have been a serial killer task force crawling all over it. Especially with over 40 cases eventually linked. Considering we got quite a bit of insight into the killer’s psyche, and their complete disregard for caution when it came to safeguarding their DNA, none of this made any sense at all.
One commentor remarked that they feel this is based on the Night Stalker case somewhat, and that does feel right considering the cases covered in this story, but the Night Stalker was well before the NDIS was implemented, so DNA wasn’t a factor in catching him. Brought into the present day, it just doesn’t stack up because the evidence would have the FBI and police from half a dozen states crawling all over the case. The NCAVC, the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, is an entire FBI division devoted to spotting just this kind of pattern and providing assistance to local law enforcement agencies in tracking down the offenders.
I’m not even American, and I was pretty sure this was the case just from watching some TV crime dramas. No matter how well written the rest of the story is (and it’s pretty good), if the author wants me to buy into her story, she needs to get critical details like this right. Otherwise, I just can’t take her seriously as an author of crime fiction.
Two stars and a big black mark for getting something pretty darn critical to how serial crimes are solved in the US today wrong.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.
I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.
Hide & Seek is the first book in Mary Burton’s new Criminal Profiler series. FBI Agent Macy Crow has appeared in a previous book by Ms Burton but you do not have read it to read this series. Macy is recovering from injuries sustained in a hit and run and wants to join the profiler team. She is sent to a small town where Sheriff Nevada, previously her lover, is investigating the recently discovered remains of missing teen which appears to be connected to the rapes of 3 teenagers in the same year.
This story is told from multiple points of view including that of the killer. I actually found the killer’s point of view quite creepy. Seeing him stalk and attack these teenagers and knowing he has been getting away with it for so long was disconcerting because he made it look easy.
It was absorbing reading Macy and Nevada’s methodical hunt for the killer, connecting the dots. Seeing various crimes of the past being connected so many years later because the Sheriff at the time didn’t do his job property had my blood boiling, although it helped knowing Macy would likely catch the killer. There are different suspects and a bit of misdirection that kept me on my toes but when the killer’s identity is revealed it is expected.
I’m a big fan of romantic suspense stories and Mary Burton can always be counted on to provide a good engaging story. In this case the romance plays a minor role but I get the feeling we will see more of it in future stories. I thoroughly enjoyed Hide & Seek and I look forward to reading more of this series.
If you are looking for a good crime thriller this book is for you. It was a fast paced page turner from the get go. Mary Burton knows how to keep you guessing and delivers yet again another great book.