Taylor Jackson and Whitney Connolly are two sides of the same coin. While both are beautiful blondes from the wealthy Nashville neighborhood of Belle Meade, the former has eschewed her background (much to her parents' dismay) to become a homicide lieutenant in her city's police department, while the latter is a rising star journalist for a local television station, with a twin sister, Quinn, who has gone the full-fledged upper-class housewife route. Jackson and Connolly see their jobs intersect when a body is found on the outskirts of the city, one that bears the unmistakable signs of being the victim of a serial killer. The search for the perpetrator will involve both women, as well as Jackson's lover, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin, in a multistate manhunt that will endanger all of their lives including Quinn's.

In her debut novel, All the Pretty Girls, Nashville resident and former financial analyst J.T. Ellison does a skillful job of capturing the city and its flavors, while taking the police procedural out of its usual New York/Los Angeles/Chicago big-city milieu and placing it in a mid-sized, vibrant Southern city. She's populated her novel with believable players, on both sides of the law. Murder is the same all over, but the Southern Strangler has a gruesome habit of leaving the hands of his previous victim next to the bodies of his newest ones. This lends a compelling urgency to Jackson and Baldwin's efforts to track down the brilliant and methodical killer, who quotes Wordsworth and Keats. Jackson's case load she's also tracking a serial rapist and her increasingly complicated personal life keeps her head spinning, while Connolly's suspicions are leading her down a path she's scared to explore. What they don't realize is that their different trails are converging.

Southern readers will find All the Pretty Girls a thrilling ride through a well-known locale, and the rest of the country will get a closer view and a different perspective of Music City.

James Neal Webb keeps his hands to himself in the Nashville suburb of Donelson.

comments powered by Disqus