The Third Victim Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Third Victim

Being a policewoman in a small town just got harder for Lorraine Conner when her boss's son is accused of shooting two young girls and his teacher.
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FBI profiler Pierce Quincy is sent to the crime scene and must deal with his feelings towards Officer Conner even though she is hiding a huge secret of her own. Accused of murdering her mother when she was 14 years old, she must confront her own feelings while trying to clear a 13 year old boy and keep him out of prison for life. As Quincy works to clear the boy and force Lorraine to relive her fear, his own daughter is in a coma.

   Working against her and Quincy are the parents of the boy and his sister who witnessed the unspeakable acts. Police Officer Shep is determined his son will not go to prison no matter what he has to do or say. But the townspeople are certain the killer has been found and only want him punished, no matter what his age.

The review of this Book prepared by Darlene Magdaluyo

Bantam, Jan 2001, 6.99, 384 pp.
ISBN: 0553578685

In Bakersville, Oregon, instead of himself, Sheriff Shep O'Grady surprisingly places Deputy Raine Connor in charge of the mass murder scene at the elementary school. The killer cleanly shot in the head information technology teacher Melissa Avalon. Two little girls were also killed but with multiple bullets. Much of the physical evidence is already damaged due to the chaos that occurred before Raine arrives on the scene, but more contamination follows. Raine arrests Danny on suspicion of murder. He confesses to the shootings. His father further contaminates the crime scene before Raine can get him to leave.

The State sends Homicide Detective Abe Sanders, a methodical cop, to take charge of the case. FBI Special Agent Pierce Quincy leaves his dying daughter to also join the investigation. Quincy tells Raine he has some doubts about Danny being the killer because of the precise way the teacher was murdered. As the trio works together, a town wonders why a good little boy would do such a bad thing. Overwhelming evidence points towards the lad but some items lead to a more professional murderer yet no clear suspect surfaces.

Though everyone struggles with the shock of school children murdering their peers in schoolhouses, this novel is a taut well-written thriller. The characters are well constructed so that readers can understand how they react to events during the murders and its aftermath. Still, this is a difficult topic to read a fictionalized account on true events such as what happened in Colombine. Still, as with the author's previous novels such as THE PERFECT HUSBAND and The Other Daughter, Lisa Gardner provides an exciting, non-stop thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Third Victim

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Challenging Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Murder of certain profession?    -   students/teachers Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect    -   Big focus on forensic evidence Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings of fear/loss/inadequacy Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes Is Romance a MAJOR (25%+) part of story?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Pacific NW Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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