A student of forensic psychology finds her fiance mauled to death. Did her dogs do it?
Morgan Prager gets home from a lecture at John Jay College of Criminal Justice to find her apartment covered in blood and her three dogs frantic. In the bedroom, a body has been mutilated so badly she isn't sure at first that it's her fiance, Bennett. The police arrive, shoot one dog, take the others into custody, and send Morgan to Bellevue. In a few days she will reveal to her psychiatrist that she met Bennett when he responded to a profile she set up on a dating site to test a theory she has about women who are victims of sexual predators. Then he turned out to be perfect for her. After she gets out of the hospital, she tries to mail a condolence letter to Bennett's parents, at which point it turns out everything she knows about the guy, including his name, is a lie. Two other fiancees, one of them recently murdered, an ex-wife, and other nasty surprises await as Morgan attempts to unravel the truth. At the same time, she's working with a pretty hot animal advocacy lawyer named Mackenzie to defend her dogs, who face execution. This pseudonymous debut is a collaboration between Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment, gifted novelists whose failure to breathe life into their heroine is perplexing. The quirks and attitudes, sexual history and behavior, dead best friend, lawyer brother, and oddly cold voice they have invented for her never alchemize into what feels a real person. Some details, like the fact that her psychiatrist used to be a backup singer for Lou Reed, almost feel like they came from another book. On the other hand, the information presented about sociopaths, psychopaths, victims, and dogs, particularly dogs in trouble, is extremely interesting.
Despite its lack of believable characters and events, this slim, nasty thriller is hard to put down.