If you like your thrillers equipped with major plot twists, Depraved Difference by J. Robert Kennedy may be just what you’re looking for.
Me, I’m still thinking it over.
Aynslee Kai, an ambitious young TV journalist in Manhattan, starts receiving videos by e-mail, videos that might make her career. A year ago a couple thugs beat and kicked a young woman to death on the subway. Two more low-lifes videoed the murder and shared it on the net, where it went viral.
Now someone has started identifying the onlookers, the people caught on the video watching but doing nothing to help. Each onlooker is being hunted down and murdered, and each murder is filmed and sent to Aynslee. She is shocked, but also energized by this big career break.
She feels a little guilty, though, about not cooperating more with Detective Hayden Eldridge, a cop who’s asked to see the videos before they’re broadcast. She assists him to an extent, but her boss’s priorities come first. This bothers her a bit, because she’s developed a crush on the hunky Eldridge.
Author Kennedy is very good at surprising his readers, and there are several shockers in this story up until the very climax. There he blindsides you (unless you’re a lot smarter than me) with a twist so bizarre I’m still trying to decide whether he played fair with his readers or not.
Oddly, this book is labeled Number One in the “Detective Shakespeare” series. Justin Shakespeare is Eldridge’s partner, and he doesn’t even show up in the book until the 40% point (on my Kindle). Shakespeare is mentioned often before that, but only as a fat, lazy time-server just putting in his time until retirement. We will gradually learn that there’s more to him than that.
Depraved Difference was a compelling read, and one you won’t soon forget. I’m still not sure whether I approve of the final twist, though. I also thought the character psychology kind of implausible.
Cautions for lots of violence and disturbing situations, plus strong language.