The Sex Club
Review: L. J. Sellers introduces Eugene (Oregon) police detective Wade Jackson in The Sex Club, a well written if formulaic mystery involving the murders of two teenage girls.
Shortly after a young girl visits a planned parenthood clinic to be treated for a sexually transmitted disease, the clinic is targeted with a pipe bomb. The next day, the young girl is found dead, apparently murdered. Wade Jackson, the police detective assigned to the cases, doesn't believe the incidents are connected, but the clinic nurse, Kera Kollmorgan, isn't so sure. While Jackson focuses primarily on the murder investigation, Kera probes into the life of the dead girl becoming a target herself. When another young girl, also a client of the clinic, is murdered, both Jackson and Kera are convinced it has more to do with a church social club the girls were members of than a serial killer at work.
The Sex Club is one of those "mysteries with a message" where the plot plays a secondary role to the message itself. On the plus side, Sellers is a terrific writer. The story moves along very quickly and Wade Jackson's character is generally well developed. In particular, his professional and personal relationships, in the latter case especially with his daughter, appear to be genuine. The best parts of the book are the chapters from his point of view. (The Sex Club is largely written from three points of view.) The setting seems appropriate too, a mid-sized city in Oregon.
But the plot is utterly predictable, made even more so by the unfortunate stereotypes the author chooses to apply to many of the secondary characters. This lack of originality in both plot and character obviates any suspense the book might have otherwise generated. There are also the odd, but fortunately few, lapses of logic that strain credulity. Finally, the good-vs-evil, right-vs-wrong aspect of the story is overdone and overwrought.
This series clearly has potential with Sellers' skills as a writer and a credible character in Wade Jackson. Maybe next time there will be more of a mystery with a plot and less of a mystery with a message.
Acknowledgment: L. J. Sellers provided a copy of The Sex Club for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Rules of Crime
Thomas & Mercer (Trade Paperback), February 2013
ISBN-13: 9781611098068; ISBN-10: 1611098068
Location(s) referenced in The Sex Club: Eugene, Oregon
— ♦ —
The Sex Club by L. J. Sellers — A Wade Jackson Mystery
Publisher: Spellbinder Press
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: October 2007
List Price: $8.50