Cross your heart and hope to die.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Book Links: Goodreads
The Crucifix Killer is sensational.
I love finding a new author, with new stories and characters and insights; I love it even more when they turn out to be fantastic. Sadly, there is just not enough bloody time in life to read them all...
And I really wanna read them all...
Chris Carter is one of those authors. With a background in criminal psychology and real-life experience with serial killers, he's perfectly capable of whipping up a chilling tale on the matter. The Crucifix Killer is scary, smart and satanic. The visual and visceral aspects of this book shake you to your core, and it's made worse by the accuracy the author injects by the bucket load.
Just check out this line from the blurb (yes, the blurb!):
'Naked, strung from two wooden posts, the skin has been ripped from her face -- while she was still alive.'
Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)
Detective Robert Hunter faced off against one of the worst serial killers.
And won, with the man convicted, and euthanized.
At least, everything had pointed to that man.
When the body of a woman turns up with the killer's signature mark branded to her, he's confused.
Is there a copycat on the loose?
Or has the real Crucifix Killer returned...?
Plot - 5/5 Stars
The Crucifix Killer starts off hard and fast. The reader is plunged into action, suspense and utter confusion; and it's great! It begins the novel in heart-pumping style and cements your entire focus on it. Then we move on to a smart and well-structured horror. Mr Carter has done a phenomenal job with the plot, especially with his intellect evident throughout the novel's entirety.
One thing I can say is that, the author has a vibrant and vicious imagination, in a good way. The visual picture painted on occasions electrifies the hairs on your body and has you gasping for breath. Your gag reflex will be active. The action helps temper the more slow-burning, information-heavy segments of the story, but those are invigorating and interesting. Everything comes together; the parts run like a well-lubricated machine.
The twist at the end is also jaw-dropping, at least, if you don't figure it out. I did, and I honestly can't believe I managed to. The ambiguity and misdirection given to our protagonist works its deceptive magic on the reader as well. But, I got it! There are a few subtle hints that fall together maybe a 1/3 of the way through. I never lost interest though. There's a fascinating backstory and motivations that, when revealed, really do open your eyes.
The dark depravity of The Crucifix Killer is a little depressing - and terrifying - but it makes one helluva story.
Pace - 5/5 Stars
Very good pace. The beginning throws you in, the end spits you out, and everything between burns so brightly and smoothly you're hooked from start to finish. There are no drops in flow; no hiccups; no disjoint; this book is definitely put together with care.
Characters - 4.5/5 Stars
My only gripe with the cast is that, side characters, aren't as developed as I would have liked them to be, but it's not too bad. They're progressive enough, and truly shine in their respective places. Overall, the cast is great, although, there are three stars that glow the brightest.
The first: Robert Hunter. Our main protagonist of course, Hunter is a genius; not simply smart, but extraordinary, especially with profiling the sick and evil minds roaming the streets. You can feel the fine line he walks on. The line that separates Hunter from those he hunts. As he puts it in the novel, you can only live inside the mind of a killer so long before you break. But, he's kind, moral, tough, insightful, and, overall, a smashing lead viewpoint.
Hunter's partner, Garcia, is next, and he compliments his other half well, especially during the investigation. A lot like Hunter in a lot of ways, like a past Hunter, before he first had a run-in with the Crucifix Killer. He's also smart, although, not Hunter's level, and his fresh perspective helps fill in the gaps.
The Crucifix Killer boasts a terrific villain. Before we know who it is, and before I guessed correctly, he's very, very creepy. He rivals Hunter, only with a complete opposite moral compass. There's a real chance he can get away with what he's doing, especially with the level of competence he shows throughout.
I can't wait to find out what Mr Carter creates next...
Writing - 5/5 Stars
Not much issue here, either. Competent, well put together and easy to read. I've seen a few people comment on a rigid feel concerning the main character's speeches regarding profiling, but I honestly didn't feel it when reading it.
Overall - 5/5 Stars
Next up is The Executioner, but I have to wait and buy it and wait for it...
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