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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
After enjoying the first novel, Scablands, in the Carmen Carillo series by EJ Averett, I was keen to get stuck into The Yellow. In this series, Carmen is a forensic psychologist often called in as a police consultant in nasty crimes, especially those of a sexual nature. In The Yellow, it is Carmen’s lawyer boyfriend who gets her involved in the case and upcoming trial of a world-renowned psychologist now accused of sexually molesting a 9-year-old child. Nasty subject, indeed. Carmen’s gut reaction on meeting the accused, Dr. Simon Young, is disgust, but at the same time, she is trained to withhold judgement. Just as well because as the story progresses and becomes increasingly complicated about locating who is trying to kill Dr. Simon, and possibly Carmen herself, Carmen is baffled by all the information she is getting about Dr. Young’s past. Is he perhaps, as is often the case, as much a victim as a predator? If so, who is ultimately responsible for making him a predator?
The Yellow is filled with unusual characters with complicated pasts that have resulted in troubling lives filled with secrets. After a while, the reader wonders if anyone in this novel is sane, something Carmen herself questions toward the end. Unlike the mind-blowing opening to Scablands where a body is found inside a dead cow, The Yellow starts tamely. Memoir-style, Averett has chosen to fill readers in on Carmen’s background and while the dilemma Carmen is facing brings death to several members of her sexual abusers’ support group, the really exciting action of the plot comes more slowly than it did in the first book. The pace is a bit like riding a bike uphill, cresting and then zooming downhill to the conclusion. That conclusion is where Averett has chosen to shock the reader, instead of at the beginning. And along the way, Carmen finds herself in hospital so many times you might lose count.
But along the way, readers will learn a great deal about the variations in sexual deviations, what produces such deviants, and why it’s important to judge sexual offenders on more than what we read in the papers. The old rules of cause and effect are always in play when it comes to raising healthy children. Bottom line? If you want more from a psychological thriller than just action, you’ll enjoy The Yellow. Strange title that. What does it mean? You’ll have to read the book to find out.