Monday, 11 May 2015

Review: The Killing Lessons by Saul Black

The Killing Lessons by Saul Black

Publication date: 7th May, 2015
Published by: Orion
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Stars: 4 ****

The Blurb

When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper's isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it's the end of everything. For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it's just another stop on a long and bloody journey. And they still have many miles to go, and victims to sacrifice, before their work is done.

For San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart, their trail of corpses - women abducted, tortured and left with a seemingly random series of objects inside them - has brought her from obsession to the edge of physical and psychological destruction. And she's losing hope of making a breakthrough before that happens.

But the slaughter at the Cooper farmhouse didn't quite go according to plan. There was a survivor, Rowena's 10-year-old daughter Nell, who now holds the key to the killings. Injured, half-frozen, terrified, Nell has only one place to go. And that place could be even more terrifying than what she's running from.

My Thoughts

Reading the blurb for this book on Netgalley I knew that it sounded just my kind of book and I was right as it was a truly gripping read. The action starts from the very first page when Rowena Cooper finds two strange men standing in her hallway. From that opening scene we are propelled on a bloody and gruesome journey on the trail of a sadistic serial killer and his accomplice.

Detective Valerie Hart is the person responsible for trying to track the pair of killers and the hunt for them becomes an obsession as she is trying to catch one of the most brutal killers she has ever come across. At first she comes across as bit of a cliche, alcoholic detective dependent on the drink to numb the pain of what she sees daily in her job but as the story moves on Valerie grows on you.

Then we have Nell. Rowena's 10 year old daughter who has managed to escape the bloodbath at her house. She is left traumatised and injured and is found unconscious in the snow by a stranger. He takes her back to his cabin to wait out a blizzard whilst our killer continue their murderous rampage. 

This is a truly dark and twisted read that when done right like 'The Killing Lessons' is becomes a wonderfully compelling read. Saul Black gets the pace just right and his main serial killer is certainly one of the most dark and depraved that I have come across in a while. A must for all crime fiction readers who love a good cat and mouse chase that is packed with gore and drama.

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