From Dot Hutchinson, the bestselling author of The Butterfly Garden series (which I liked), comes a new mystery thriller, Deadly Waters, which tackles a vigilante hunting down sexual predators on a college campus.
The book is set at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Florida, and centers around a journalism student named Rebecca, who comes from a family of law enforcement officers.
She and her dorm mates are just underage for drinking, but manage to get into local bars with fake I.D.’s. Most of her mates are there just to have a good time, but her hot-tempered roommate, Ellie, is always picking fights with men she thinks are preying on other young women.
See, one of their former dorm mates, was drugged and raped at a frat party, and ended up in a coma. And she’s not the first to be attacked by male students at the college. One of Rebecca’s family members was also raped on campus and early in the story, Rebecca is also attacked outside a bar.
But someone is taking the law into their own hands and when certain male students’ remains are found in alligator-infested waters, the local police get involved.
Ellie is a prime suspect, not only because of her temper and previous fights with men, but because she’s very vocal in siding with the killer…even to the cops.
Deadly Waters is very contemporary in setting, but shines a light on a decades-old problem that often gets swept aside at colleges. And it’s very obvious that the author has no patience for the men committing the crimes (and rightly so), to the point where only one male character seems to be trustworthy.
I had suspected who the killer was before I was halfway through the book, and a later incident with an officer sealed my guess (turns out I was right in the coda of the book).
The author got a little too detail descriptive in some areas that didn’t really matter to the story, but the main characters were decently fleshed out. That said, I didn’t really feel connected to any of them.
It’s a fast-paced thriller, but not an easy read due to its subject matter. The book shines when it lets the women tell their stories, but can seem heavy-handed in scenes featuring any male character. Unfortunately, it could also hit home a little too closely to readers who’ve experienced similar crimes.
I’m giving Deadly Waters by Dot Hutchison a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimer: I received an advance e-book copy for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not compensated in any other way. My opinion is honest, and as always, my own.
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