Pretty Little Things (C.J. Townsend Thriller)

Image of Pretty Little Things (C.J. Townsend Thriller)
Release Date: 
April 7, 2014
Thomas & Mercer
Reviewed by: 

Jilliane Hoffman’s legal thriller, Pretty Little Things, delivers a huge punch and hits you right in your biggest fear: How can I protect my child from the predators who troll the teen-friendly freeways of the Internet?

Pretty Little Things starts in the flirty, instant messaging world of thirteen-year-old Lainy Emerson. Looks like Lainy has a boyfriend; and he’s really cute, nice, and athletic. A high-school boy just a little bit older than she is. Or is he?

Lainy sneaks out to meet him and never comes home. The story then broadens to show us more about Lainy’s life. Why was she so receptive to meeting an online Prince Charming? What neglect and disapproval haunted her steps at home to make her such a perfect victim? Why do the police not take her disappearance seriously?

With most of law enforcement assuming it’s just another runaway, Special Agent Bobby Dees, nicknamed “The Shepherd” because of his extraordinary ability to find missing children, feels differently. Bobby feels deep inside him that Lainy was kidnapped. And Bobby should know. His own daughter is missing.

Throughout Bobby’s investigation into the disappearance of Lainy, Jillian Hoffman shows her expertise as a former prosecutor. Miss Hoffman’s book is haunting and accurate. She is spot-on in her portrayal of her vulnerable victim, Lainy. As a mother of two teenage daughters, she also exposes the fear that we all have of the monsters that come out of cyberspace.

Her book is a fast-paced ride to find Lainy before it’s too late. More information about the background of the predator and how he got to where he is would have been appreciated by this reader. But maybe that was Miss Hoffman’s point: that we don’t know anything about the phantoms that swirl around in the cyber-fog, ready to float in and steal our children.

After reading Pretty Little Things you’ll find that you’re much more aware of your child’s online habits. If you see your child abruptly shut down her computer when you walk into the room, take a moment to check where she’s been. Find out who’s at the other end of “’sup?”