I read the Chris Carter’s debut novel The Crucifix Killer before starting this one. I was so taken with it and the characters (Det. Robert Hunter and his partner Garcia) that I immediately started on book 2. With Carter’s history of studying psychology and criminal behaviour there is a real authenticity to his books along with characters that are extremely likeable. Robert Hunter and his partner Garcia start this book with attending a crime scene inside a Los Angeles church. Very early on it became clear that this book was going to be a lot more gruesome than the first. As you read Hunter and Garcia’s take on the murder scene my stomach started turning as each part of the scene was explained with frightening clarity!
Initially it looks to be a ritualistic killing but of course within another few chapters the appearance of another body puts paid to that theory. Once again Hunter and Garcia are chasing a serial killer. Although I really like Hunter and Garcia, it seems like we are too early in the series to get a real sense of their personal lives. I like to get to know characters to make sure they can stand the test of time, so on that front this was a bit lacking in this current book, but I expect that to improve with books 3 and 4!
The characters aside, the story is what really grips you by short and curlys. As more and more bodies pile up it appears that this serial killer is making people suffer. All of his victims die from the one thing that they are scared to death of. As each body is found the gore and violence ratchets up a notch. It’s not to say it was too bad to read, but this certainly isn’t for the weak stomached. I found myself feeling a little bit like I was being watched when I was reading late and night, and to be frank it gave me the ‘heebie jeebies’. I took this as a good sign and continued reading to the conclusion in the early hours of the morning.
Overall, this was slightly more graphic than the first book, but as stories go was just as good. I like the two lead characters but definitely want to see a bit more of their persona lives to see if they can stand up to the competition, and to the test of time. Certainly an author I’m looking forward to reading more of!