Imagine your worst fear
- then meet your worst nightmare.
He'll scare you to death...
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Book Links: Goodreads
Have you ever read the blurb of a book and thought, this is exactly what I've been waiting for?
Well, that thought hit me as soon as I picked up Chris Carter's The Executioner. This entry in the Robert Hunter series is a dark, gritty and violent journey, centred on the chase for a serial killer who kills his victims with their own worst fears. It might sound like a simple, yet hooking, synopsis for a thriller, but it awakened something in my mind that screamed at me to devour it.
And Mr Carter strikes the spot with a confident and clever blow.
Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)
There's a new serial killer plaguing the streets of LA.
And he's destroying people with their own worst fears.
Homicide Special Detective Robert Hunter has never seen death like this.
So violent, so angry.
But can he use his psychological genius to nail this killer to the wall?
Or will the monster complete his goal and slink away into darkness...?
Plot - 5/5 Stars
The Executioner has a gruesome, delightful start that sets the standard tone of dark and depressing, while promising you a bumpy, twist-filled ride. And, on those points, Carter delivers with gusto. He then goes on to completely blow your expectations out of the water. There are some fantastic elements to this story that catch you by surprise.
One in particular, comes in the form of the character Mollie. While she's a compelling addition to the cast, it's the paranormal aspects she brings that really shock and awe. Carter weaves this unbelievable plot that pushes at the boundaries of his own fictional concoction. And it works. It's exciting as hell! Well, not hell, because if that place exists, I'm not too sure exciting is the best adjective.
To elaborate, Mollie has visions surrounding pain. She sees events that radiate it strongly. For a large part of the novel, the reader's skepticism is pushed, but the author does nothing to dissuade the possibility that it's real.
Combine that with the thrilling hunt for a fascinating, multi-layered serial killer, and Carter's second novel feels undeniably fresh, putting it on-par, if not above, this book's predecessor.
The pieces of this jigsaw all slot together perfectly.
Pace - 5/5 Stars
Thanks to the surprising elements injected into this entry to the series, there's always something new around the corner to knock the air out of you. The structure ensures you won't lose interest, and Carver flaunts his psychological muscles to ensnare the reader.
A fast, rip-roaring ride of a book.
Characters - 5/5 Stars
When I posted my review for The Crucifix Killer, in the characters' section, I commented on the fact that the cast fit a mold; that they played their parts well, but no more (with the obvious exceptions). In The Executioner I feel Carver has found his feet and hit the ground running. I cannot think of one character who is in any way average in this book. There are a good few newbies this time around, but they're expertly written.
Our main, Robert Hunter, is one of the best crime/thriller protagonists I've read. The author injects his creation with his own real-life experiences and intelligence. Hunter's attention to details, especially those concerning people, is astounding. The character is a genius and the intuitive aspects of his mind make him more than just simply compelling.
While I don't have much to say about Garcia, he is a capable partner for Hunter, and they both compliment each other well.
Another new, big addition to the cast is Barbara Blake, our detectives' new captain. She's tough, dedicated, loyal and extremely capable. Pressure can't break her, and she can push back with as much force.
Carver has a captivating cast for this series, and I can't wait to ride with them again.
Writing - 5/5 Stars
The short, exciting chapters remind me of Mr James Patterson's penchant for immediacy. It pushes the story hard and fast, making each chapter a morbidly delightful nugget of despair.
Overall - 5/5 Stars
Over the past couple months I've been extremely lucky with my reading choices. I'm yet to read something I'm not particularly keen on.
Long may my streak continue!
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