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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Perfect Little Dolls by Karen Long

When an oddly preserved body is found in Toronto’s biggest waste dump, DI Eleanor Raven is the one who catches the case. Nothing adds up from the beginning, and soon Eleanor has more than one body to deal with, as the killer starts trying to cover their tracks… while looking for his next victim.

Eleanor has her own demons to battle, apparently left over from the case she had to solve in the first book in the series. I hadn’t read it, but didn’t feel too lost; there was enough detail for me to understand what was going on - and very nearly enough to tempt me to go straight out and buy book 1, which I might have done if my TBR list wasn’t taller than my leg at the moment.

There’s some very interesting themes explored in the book. One of the victims is a (partially transitioned) trans woman, whose gender identity is treated with respect throughout, thankfully, and she isn’t the only trans character so it’s not a ‘bury your gays’ situation - just a sad reflection of the dangerous realities faced by too many trans women in society. Eleanor herself is an unpartnered (bisexual) sexual submissive who indulges in some potentially risky behaviour in order to find the release she needs, and she also has very obvious PTSD. Her counselling sessions are described on-page, something that doesn’t happen often enough, particularly in crime thriller series such as this where the protagonists suffer major psychological and sometimes physical trauma. The twist is a little different too, and while we know who the killer is from early on as we get scenes from his point of view, it’s fascinating to delve deeper into his mind and discover just how twisted he is as the story progresses.

I don’t know enough about tissue preservation to know, but it certainly read as authentic and like the author has really done their research into how a sick individual with the right skillset might go about fulfilling a genuinely horrifying fantasy. I was riveted, staying up late to finish the story, and therefore I can’t possibly give it less than five stars.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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