Creatures of Appetite by Todd Travis

The plot of this book was very good, so I kept reading even though I wanted to sit down with the author and ask what the hell he was thinking at several points.

First, there was the scene where he diminished the female character’s worth.  Up to this point, you are thinking she is kind of a badass.  And I get what he was trying to do, he was proving she was human and that she had to learn to be a badass.  Except it didn’t come across that way.  First off, how does someone reach 20 years old in the US and never be exposed to violence.  Did she live under a rock?  I think he meant that she had never been involved in a violent situation, but that isn’t the way it was framed.  Instead, in this flashback, we learn she decided to become a cop because some guy hit her when she intervened in a domestic violence situation in her dorm.  Instead of getting angry, she curled into the fetal position on the floor while other people tackled and sat on the guy.  I have never been hit by a man in any way shape or form.  However, if I was, I wouldn’t react like this woman.  I would get angry and I don’t know any women that wouldn’t also get angry.  Not just angry, but seriously pissed off.  I’m talking black widow pissed off.  Women who do respond in this manner are usually very accustomed to violence… They know if they fight back, they are going to get their ass kicked by the guy, but these are women who have ended up in relationships full of violence and are now in the vicious downward spiral that leads to them becoming volunteer victims.  These are not women who have never been in a violent situation before.  While I see the author’s intent, I think the research on the situation was lacking on the author’s part and that maybe they should read up on how women react to violence.  Maybe ask the women in their lives, because most of them are going to get angry.

Second, there was the ridiculous over the top shooting.  Physics tells us for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  It’s just how the world works.  So if someone shoots someone else, they do not fly through the air.  It just doesn’t happen, unless you are shooting someone with a .50 caliber sniper’s rifle and even then, it doesn’t happen.  Things that will make people “fly” through the air when shot; elephant guns, cannons, RPGs, and I’m sure a few other seriously large guns that have to be mounted to things.  Handguns, normal shotguns, and regular caliber rifles do not cause this.  If I shot someone with a 20/20 Winchester rifle, they would slump forward, and maybe face plant on the ground.  No way is a handgun, not even a .44 caliber magnum, going to make a person’s feet come off the ground while they fly through the air.  In the first instance, of this unbelievable shooting effect, the suspect didn’t just leave his feet, he flew over the head of a 6-10 year old girl and slammed into a concrete wall with enough force to knock him out.  Meaning he somehow was lifted between 3 and 4 feet off the ground and moved backwards ten feet or so by being shot three times with a handgun.  It just ain’t happening.

Eventually the male gets new hiking boots which was also weird, because you discover he is wearing them when he finds his partner unconscious after she has chased after the killer and the male FBI agent has busted his ass yet again.  At that point, he stops falling down, but it is practically the end of the book, so this didn’t make me feel much better.

I was okay with the ego of the male partner.  It worked for me.  I wasn’t keen on the reminders of his vanity like his repeated statements that he is always right, when the situation has proven otherwise… If he was always right, as he claims, then when he first rejects the idea of needing better boots to walk in the snow, he wouldn’t have… Because he is always right, but most of the characters told him he needed better boots and he disagreed because he wasn’t going to be there long enough to need new boots, let alone need new boots for a foot chase, which is what happened, thereby proving he isn’t always right like he claims.  And if he was as smart as he claimed, after that happened, he would not have continued to tell everyone he was always right.

I had the killer narrowed down to two characters rather quickly, as well as the motive behind the killings.  This isn’t entirely unusual for me.  However the reason I had it narrowed to two instead of one was because there were two characters that I couldn’t tell apart.  I kept trying to remember which one was which, they were like Tweedledee Dee and Tweedledum for the most part, except they were friends not twins, although they might as well have been twins.  That has become a bit of a pet peeve for me, not figuring out the killer too early, but not having characters that stand apart from each other… Even though both were supporting characters, one turned out to be a serial killer… His personality should have been different enough from the other supporting characters that he didn’t fall into obscurity.

This was an odd one for me.  I loved the plot, hated the execution.  At one point towards the very end of the book, there was a light bulb moment for me that made me think the author did know a little more than he had let on about the guns towards the front of the book.  So I booted my computer because the more I thought of it, the more I realized, I had never had a police officer mention to me that when it is really cold, the slide on the Glock gets stiff and becomes basically unusable.  At which point a quick search turned up videos of people firing a Glock the moment it came out of the freezer.  A search on the Glock website turned up information that this was a common myth and that the Glock will fire under most conditions and the only thing you really have to watch out for is rust forming when it is exposed to moisture in freezing air.  So the redeeming moment faded and all I really have left to say is that I wish the author had researched his topic a little more and that he had asked around on a few things before putting them into the book.

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