Citizen Out by Marie Crist

Citizen Out  A man patiently watches a group of young girls walk home from school, waiting for the perfect moment to take the one child he has designated as his next victim. Once in his clutches, she will endure acts of violence and horror that such a young girl should never have to experience. However, what this predator does not know is that he, too, is being stalked. There is someone in the shadows—a trained Citizen—who is ready to make sure that the child under his assigned protection is never harmed. One pedophile, one abuser, one killer at a time . . . this Citizen and others like him will take a stand against those who prey on the weak and the innocent.

I loved the idea of this book. A vigilante group that stalks pedophiles and other criminals and prevents them from claiming other victims. The way the book introduces the reader to this group is very interesting and is very attention grabbing from the first page. The passages written from the point of the view of the criminals are chilling, and makes the skin crawl because it has a very real feel to it. It’s very understandable then, that there’s a feeling of satisfaction when these criminals get their due.

The actual organization of the Citizens itself is an interesting idea and I liked how it was written. There was good detail and the author did a great job in describing how the organization was run. Each character in the novel had its’ role in the group and it was described in an understandable and enough detail so the reader could have a good comprehension who this vigilante group was and how they were organized.

Although I loved the idea of the book, and at first it turned out to be a really interesting read, there were a few things that did not sit well with me. First, it was how the characters acted amongst each other. To me it seems extremely fake and artificial. They were just so happy go lucky and so well put together, it was almost to the point where I couldn’t read the dialog between them. It was like watching a very corny 1950’s movie where everyone one is so happy and chipper. I just couldn’t understand what was the point of reading their oh so happy dialogue when they had criminals to track and catch. There was a large emphasis on Citizens and their workplace. I was more interested on how they managed to capture these bad guys instead, so I wish the author put more emphasis on their cases and how they caught them.

Also to note, how Seth and Veronica (two new recruits that joined the organization) came to join was just a little too unbelievable to me. It’s nice though, because they were undergoing severe difficult times only to be whisked away and helped. Yet the help they received is just a little too good to be true for my tastes. Perhaps I’m too cynical and too pessimistic to believe such a thing to happen, but it’s just way too good to be true for me. At this point of the book, my interest started to wane, as it focused on these characters way too much and the overall “good guy” tones was starting to be over the top.

The ending proved to be very unsatisfactory for me. It may come across as a giant cliffhanger to some, but to me it was more of: “Okaayy….soooo..I read 200 and some pages for..this?” I just wish there was much more than just reading it from the Citizen’s and their organization’s point of view. Sure, the detail was useful, but shouldn’t they be out tracking the criminals instead of admiring their lunchrooms at work? I was waiting for maybe some sort of twist to surprise me, but unfortunately that was not to be.

I did like this book because it was a very unique and great idea but the execution of it could have been much better. More emphasis could have been on the criminal cases and catching the bad guys instead of having the spotlight on the new recruits and their happy go lucky friends. It’s nice they get along, but these characters need to have a few flaws as well to make them more realistic.

I give it a 6 out of 10