Officer Brett Reed just can’t catch a break. First, a man-hating judge grants custody of Brett’s 5-year old daughter Quinn to her drug-addicted alcoholic mother (Ali), grants Ali a protective order and orders Brett to complete anger-management courses after he loses his temper over the custody ruling. Then, after Quinn is found wandering alone through the streets, she is placed in a temporary foster home for a few days while Child Protective Services (CPS) completes their assessment of Ali and Brett. After rumors begin swirling that CPS took Quinn because Brett had molested her a few days in foster care may be a few days too long. CPS is overworked, Quinn’s foster mother is incompetent and there is someone on the loose attacking pedophiles; with Brett now rumored to be a pedophile himself will he be able to clear his name and reunite with his daughter or will he be yet another victim of “The Whacker”?
Weidenbenner deserves to be commended for tackling such delicate subjects in her novel and for delivering a story written with sensitivity and compassion. The constant theme throughout the novel was protection – Brett wanting to protect his daughter Quinn, Sarah (the CPS worker) wanting to protect all children from heartache and harm, “The Whacker” wanting to protect children from pedophiles. It’s a great story idea and it’s a good read; one that most readers will enjoy.
The point-of-view throughout the novel alternates between first-person perspective through the eyes of “The Whacker” and third-person detailing the events as they affect the rest of the written cast. It is a less common style of writing however it works in Cache a Predator. The downside to this POV is that the insight it provides into the mind of “The Whacker” greatly reduces the amount of tension associated with the character. There are plotlines that would be more intense if the reader was not given this insight; as written the reader isn’t given much cause for concern as the prevailing feeling is, “Oh, the whacker wouldn’t do that. It’s not his/her motivation.”
Aside from a few moments involving supporting characters the plot itself is rather predictable. It follows a familiar formula and it’s easy, with a small bit of analytical thinking, to deduce the identity of “The Whacker” and to predict the ending of the story. The ending will most likely be a point for discussion as there will be readers who love the resolution of “The Whacker” and there will be others, like myself, who feel as though the ending was the easy way out. The ending fits within the story and it doesn’t deviate from the tone of the novel but it does allow the entire conflict to wrap up with a neat little bow. The novel also feels like it continued for a chapter or two too long. The pacing became a bit awkward toward the end as the first 90% of the novel took place over a matter of a few days however the last 10% of the novel covered a period of approximately 6 ½ months. The last few chapters flashed ahead by a period of days…weeks…months to provide the reader a glimpse into the characters futures. It could have easily ended following the immediate resolution with “The Whacker” and then included an epilogue to wrap up the conclusion. Whether or not the ending is great will come down to the individual reader’s preference.
The intensity is born from the subject matter and may not appeal to all readers but overall Cache a Predator is a good crime thriller and most readers will enjoy it. Despite the subject matter it is an easy read and can be read over a period of 1-3 days. If you’re looking for a mystery or crime thriller I recommend picking it up.
Review by Ashley LaMarClosed the Cover