The third and final installment of the T.J. Peterson mysteries
Things have gone from bad to worse for T.J. Peterson. The cops have kicked him off the force, his girlfriend called it quits, his best friend and former partner won’t speak to him, and his estranged 20-year-old daughter, Katy, continues to torment him with photos of the hellholes she is living in. Add in a shrink’s diagnosis of PTSD, and Peterson is barely holding it together.
When he receives an anonymous text message with an online link to a video of a young journalist being tortured, Peterson does the only thing he knows how to do — he sets out to save her. Using psychological warfare, a maniac of savage cruelty lures Peterson into a brutal labyrinth of hard-core porn and the vicious depravity of the Dark Web, and Peterson finds himself in a race to find the girl before the torment breaks him for good.
Kroll's uneven third and final T.J. Peterson mystery (after 2017's The Hell of It All) plunges the reader into the world of hardcore porn and other ugliness that lives on the dark web. Despite his having been thrown off the Halifax, Nova Scotia, PD, Peterson, a barely reformed drunk who tries to avoid the tormenting texts from his drug-addicted daughter, goes on a search for Britney Comer, the missing journalist daughter of an old friend. Britney has disappeared and is being tortured with the video evidence finding its way to Peterson following her request to meet with her dad, a highly placed government official who deals with being blackmailed by committing suicide. A wealth of unsavory aspects of Peterson's past and people he's connected to surfaces in the process. But the overload of wickedness and depravity feels gratuitous, and characters come across as caricatures: the hacker girl, the psycho torturer, the drugged daughter. In a crime novel that reads like a morality tale preaching that one reaps what one sows the redeeming factor is the uneasy sense of closure at the end, along with a thin shred of hope. This one's strictly for series fans.