Sunday, October 18, 2015

"The Killing Lessons: A Novel" by Saul Black



"Years of not locking doors and windows, of leaving keys in the ignition, of not thinking anything like this was ever going to happen, years of feeling safe- it had all been a lie... Your whole life could turn out to be nothing but you waiting to meet your own giant stupidity."

Two strangers turn up at an isolated farmhouse during the beginning of a huge snowstorm. Two serial killers reek havoc on Nell's 10 year old life, killing her mother and brother, but Nell escapes. Running terrified, half frozen, and injured she escapes into the frozen Colorado wilderness in search of help. Detective Hart is dedicated to solving these serial murders but is haunted by her own past and is starting to loose the drive to investigate and solve these horrific, brutal murders. 

"The Killing Lessons: A Novel" is told in different parts and viewpoints. We begin with Nell's point of view, move on to Det. Hart's story and finally end with the view of the story from one of the serial killers. Rarely are mysteries and thrillers written from several different views but I really enjoyed that aspect. It adds more dimension to the story. I liked being able to see it through different eyes. 

The author does a phenomenal job with character description and development. It was easy to imagine myself in the character's situation and get a clear picture of the surroundings and settings of the story. 

That is where it ends for me in the positive aspects category. This book started on such a high note but faded. Don't get me wrong, it was a fun read, but not a great read. Repetition. Over explanation. Boring side stories. Unbelievable situations. These are all things that made this a 3 star read for me. 


Be warned- the scenes described in this book can be VERY graphic. Murder, sodomy, rape, etc. The author writes in detail. Even for a true crime, serial killer, and murder story enthusiast like me, it was a bit too much and I skimmed through those parts. The horrible sexual violence towards women described in vivid detail was just unnecessary to me. The story would have been fine without such gory details.

***Mini spoiler***- the part in the story description on Amazon and Goodreads states that Nell is running  into what could be a worse place to go than the house her family was just murdered in and where the serial killers still are. I kept waiting for a more horrific place for Nell to reach. She reaches a cabin in the woods with a man who will do anything he can to help her... the plot summary is a blatant lie. It was something that made me confused and then angry when reading. I feel that it was such a let down, that it's worth pointing out to future readers. 

The overall theme at the end of this book that seems to tie all the characters together is TRUST. Betraying trust, loosing trust in someone, and finding out how to trust again. 

A decent read. Not a non-stop page turning thriller, but a satisfying story. 

Happy Reading! 


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