Review: M. J. Rose – The Halo Effect

The Halo Effect - M J RoseMorgan Snow is a sex therapist. Cleo is a prostitute, catering for high end clients with a lot of money. Cleo has been seeing Morgan for some time, to try and discuss the problems with the relationship with her fiance, and Morgan has broken the first rule of being a therapist: don’t get personally involved with your clients.

When Cleo gives Morgan a copy of her tell-all book manuscript, but then doesn’t turn up for her appointment, or her next appointment, Morgan can’t help but call the emergency contact number in Cleo’s file to make sure she is alright. But Gil (her business partner and supposed boyfriend) doesn’t know where she is. And when Morgan finds out that Cleo has another boyfriend, Elias, the one that she talks about in therapy, and that he has reported her missing to the police, Elias begs Morgan to help him find Cleo, since the police don’t seem to care, and even seemed to suggest that he may be suspect number one. Elias is distraught, and Morgan agrees to help.

But Morgan also has other things to worry about. A 12 year old daughter determined to go against her mother and pursue a career on Broadway. And Morgan has underlying issues brought about in part by her divorce and in part from all the things she hears in her day job; it has left her unable to switch off at night when she gets home, and unable to move on with another relationship.

And there’s a reason that the police aren’t pulling out all the stops trying to find Cleo. Firstly, she could just as well have decided that she needed a break and taken herself on holiday. But most importantly, the police are tied up trying to find a sadistic serial killer who is killing prostitutes around the city, leaving them in hotels rooms dressed in a nun’s habit with various terrible things happened to them. In fact, that’s how the book opened, with the first victim being discovered by a poor hotel maid.

Morgan desperately needs to find out if Cleo’s disappearance and the brutal murders are connected, before Cleo becomes the next victim. With the police not really investigating the disappearance, Morgan decides to take matters into her own hands and see if she can figure out if one of the men that Cleo talks about in her book could be involved. Which leads her to Gil’s bar, talking to Cleo’s usual clients and trying to get any information that she can.

But is she looking in the right place? Could the answer be right under her nose? Morgan is sure that there’s something that she’s missing, she just needs to fit the pieces together. But can she do it in time?

I had mixed feelings on and off throughout this book. At times, I felt swept away by the intrigue and mystery, and just as desperate as Morgan to find out the truth. But at other times, I thought the graphic descriptions were just too much for me and I couldn’t enjoy what I was reading. But as soon as I got past that part, I was back and sucked in again, turning page after page.

The book was part of a set of 9 thrillers that I bought on Amazon for 74p, so I didn’t expect the world from the book. I didn’t get the world, but I did find the book enjoyable. I just hope that the next in the set of 9 isn’t quite as graphic as this one!

3/5

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