Review: Premonition by Wendy Whitman

☆☆➹⁀☆ 3.5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

No stranger to murder, Cary Mackin covered high-profile cases on television for 20 years. A recent victim of cutbacks, she now does freelance work for LNN: the Legal News Network, taking the train into the city from bucolic Connecticut. After a draining career, Cary is content to be back in her hometown, living near her divorced twin sister and Obelus, the big cuddly bear of a Newfoundland dog they both adore. Still, she can’t shake the gruesome details of murders—or the belief that one awful day she would join the ranks of the murdered.

Cary has secretly lived with this clear and certain dread for most of her life—it’s what drove her to become a true-crime journalist. As a result, she’s developed a keen sense of watchfulness and paranoia. That mix kicks in late one night. Unable to sleep and craving sugar, Cary hops in her Jeep to get a fix…maybe Ben & Jerry’s. Sitting in the parking lot of several closed stores, she spots a car heading toward a family of deer crossing the street. The driver lets the doe safely pass, and then accelerates to mow down the two baby fawns. Shaken, Cary can’t help but think: killers cut their teeth on animals. But fear holds her back from calling the police. Over the next month or so, three tragedies rock her community: two car deaths—one a puppy and one a toddler—due to heat suffocation and a hit-and-run claiming the lives of two teenage girls. Cary knows none of these incidents were accidents and are all the work of the ruthless “Deer Killer.”

That’s only the start of Premonition, a riveting, tense thriller that opens a window into the inner workings of murderous minds. As Cary joins forces with three allies—a television personality, her sister’s divorce lawyer, and an attractive detective—to piece clues together, the nameless serial killer watches, while delighting in outwitting and tormenting his prey. 

Filled with insights from real-life murder cases, the novel also features a complex heroine. Cary struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder and a sugar addiction that, as the story heats up, leads to excessive drinking. In her early 40s, Cary is single and sexually conflicted—until she gets tangled up with that attractive detective, Hank, who happens to be a woman. Whitman keeps the suspense escalating and the twists coming—until the final, gut-punching shocker.



Guest Reviewer Crystal’s Thoughts:

Premonition is a quick-paced thriller with just the right amount of romance mixed in. Cary and Hank have an easy chemistry, but my favorite relationship in this book is the friendship between Cary and her pseudo-famous reporter and longtime friend, Anna.

This is an interesting look behind the scenes of news reporting as the author has a real background in journalism at Court TV. In what appears to be a parody of Whitman’s real life experience, Cary specializes in journalism surrounding grisly crimes that will garner the biggest reactions out of the show’s audience for the purposes of ratings.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is anytime Cary, as the narrator, experiences a mental spiral reliving the history of real infamous murderers such as the Golden State Killer. She is haunted by an ever-present fear that she will herself become a victim, but is justified through her internal monologue. Any time Cary is feeling vulnerable, she compares her situation to past high profile serial murder cases explaining the details of these real killer’s motives, why they were never caught, and how absurd it is that they seemed to live entirely normal lives outside of these crimes which is how they went under everybody’s radar. The fact that Cary had to research and report on so many of these cases in her line of work feeds into her phobia of being murdered herself potentially by anyone she encounters. 

I would have liked a higher ration of dialogue to narration in the story, but otherwise, thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel. The story is clearly set up for a continuation in, what is hopefully, Whitman’s next novel, which I will happily pick up.

About the Author: WENDY WHITMAN graduated from Boston University School of Law and embarked on a two-decade career in television covering high-profile murder cases. She spent 15 years as an executive and producer at Court TV and another several at HLN for the Nancy Grace show, where she appeared on air as a producer/reporter. She has received three Telly Awards and a GLAAD nomination, among many accolades for her work.

© Copyright 2021 Book Junkie Reviews. All rights reserved.

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