Book Review: Quicksand by Iris Johansen

You know you have too many books when you come home from the bookstore and have to take books off the shelves to put away your new literary treasures. Thus, I chose my latest book to read based on the question, “Which of these books am I not going to keep?” Quicksand was loaned to me by my mother-in-law, so it obviously fit the criteria.

I found Quicksand to be an easily engaging and solid thriller. The story was dark (how could it be anything else when the villain is a serial killer who targets children!), but I didn’t think the violence was too graphic. I liked that Johansen trusted the story itself to be compelling enough not to resort to cliff-hanger chapter endings (or graphic sex scenes and R-rated swearing for that matter); I plowed through this in 5 or 6 hours so I certainly found it compelling as is. I was quite curious when I reached the point where I had expected the story to end and discovered that there were still 50 pages left. I’m sure there are readers who would have anticipated Johansen’s ending, but it was an interesting surprise for me.

I somehow failed to notice the subtitle at the bottom of the front cover–An Eve Duncan Forensics Thriller–so I had no idea that I was joining a party well after it started. (Although, in hindsight, the way certain things were referenced in the story should have tipped me off.) But that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the story. In fact, not reading any of Johansen’s books prior to this may have enhanced my experience of Quicksand. I think it made Megan Blair a more effective character since she was a mystery to me instead of being an Easter egg as she would have been if I had read Pandora’s Daughter. And by the end of the book I was losing my patience with Eve’s obsession with finding her daughter Bonnie’s remains at the expense of all else–I may not have had any patience left if I had already endured her ruthless desperation through seven other books. I understand that losing a child is a life-long burden to a bereaved parent, but I do not understand Eve’s obsession in light of the fact that she is occasionally visited by Bonnie’s spirit, who assures Eve that she is happy now and urges her mother to give up the search. The novel certainly indicates that the longer Eve continues this obsession the greater the damage she does to herself and those around her. But if Eve has stubbornly resisted her beloved daughter’s invitation to lay down this burden (for at least eight novels), I can’t see any hope for her getting out of this infuriating rut and I have no desire to travel with her any farther in it. So my bottom line is that I enjoyed Quicksand more than I expected, but not enough to read more of Johansen’s Eve Duncan series.

Blurb (from the paperback edition): Do you still miss your little Bonnie? The one sentence, spoken by a male voice in an anonymous phone call, is all it takes to drag Eve Duncan right back to that horrifying moment years ago when her only daughter vanished without a trace. Since then, Eve’s life has become an obsession to find her daughter’s remains. Only one man–a brilliant, ruthless killer–knows the truth about what happened to Bonnie. But taunting Eve might be his first and last mistake…

First line: Someone was watching him.

I would recommend this book to: Anyone looking for a light, beach-read thriller.

Would I read it again: No

My personal rating: 3 out of 5

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About ChainThree

I am a daughter, sister, wife and aunt who has always loved a good yarn.
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