Friday, May 22, 2015

The Killing Lessons by Saul Black

Rowena Cooper, a widowed mother, was living in a farmhouse a mile from the nearest neighbour and three miles from the town with her thirteen-year-old son and ten-year-old daughter. Her world crumbled under the weight of her false sense of security when she saw two men standing in the back hallway with a shotgun and a long blade.

The Killing Lessons by Saul Black opens with a scene that sent a shiver down one’s spine as one awaits the fate of Rowena and her two children, Josh and Nell. You can feel your blood rushing, and I must admit that I was genuinely terrified. Needless to say, it is a beautifully written part-horror and part-thriller that is gripping enough to take you through the nearly four hundred pages (Adobe Digital Edition) though you’ll be compelled to watch your back quite a few times along the way.

You have a homicide detective whose life is falling apart due to a disastrous love affair, Valerie Hart, at the head of an investigation assigned to look into the murder of several women spanning a period of three years. She is assisted by Special Agent Carla York who Valerie feels wanted her to fail. And Valerie has nothing to show for the painstaking effort she has made. All she could do was to wait for clues, and that means more victims. But she can’t afford for more victims to surface as she has been hard pressed and haunted for the last seven months.

You may or may not correctly guess the ending, but you can easily guess that Saul Black is a pseudonym used by author Glen Duncan as the book was copyrighted to him (Glen Duncan) and not Saul Black. But that is the least of the interesting part as one turns the pages of this fast-paced and exciting mystery crime thriller which is full of suspense and spine-chilling moments. Glen Duncan may change his name but there is an unmistakable strain of irresistible style criss-crossing throughout that he cannot simply alter with the stroke of a brush.

What I really like about The Killing Lessons is the characterization. While it may be far from perfect, it is almost flawless. The eclectic cast of characters, from the alcoholic detective Valerie to Nell to the killers are wonderfully portrayed. What truly sets this apart is the manner in which the author showcased each of them, and of how their past influenced their present. The Killing Lessons is one hell of ride with heart-stopping twists that will leave you petrified and satisfied all at the same time.

Kindle edition available now
Hardcopy available September 22, 2015

Visit my Amazon review of the book 

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