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I finally finished reading “The Killer” by Jack Elgos. I have to say, this book was a struggle. The story follows Darren ‘The Butcher’ McCann. McCann joins up with the Provisional I.R.A. the day after his mother’s funeral. She was killed by their rivals and his plan is to avenge her death by killing as many Protestants as he could get his hands on. Darren receives his nickname ‘The Butcher’ (later shortened to just Butch) after a particularly gruesome interrogation. The author goes through the motions as we witness Darren training in weapons and hand to hand combat. He works his way up and is trusted with some important assignments.
Darren collects quite a few enemies doing what he does. One of these enemies is a former cop who runs into Darren as he is fleeing the scene where he was sniper shooting. When Darren runs into the cop, he struggles with him for a minute before headbutting him. Then when the cop is down, Darren kicks him in the face—forcing his eyeball from the socket, “It hung, crushed into a bloody pulp, as a mixture of blood and dark red jelly slowly oozed down his cheek” (pg 432 of 1987—iphone format). This particular cop and Darren already had a history, but after this incident Darren has not just an enemy, but an insane one.
I found Darren to be a likeable enough character and he certainly had audience sympathy because of what happened with his mother. He ends up meeting a woman in Spain who he connects well with and you can tell that he is searching for another mother figure. Their relationship ended abruptly when Darren was abducted by the very group that he was raging a war against.
The book was predictable and not all that entertaining. I feel like Elgos used excessive foul language in an attempt to authenticate the characters…but it ended up coming out like he just couldn’t think of anything better to say. Just when I thought the book was starting to get interesting, it ended.
I would not recommend this book to anyone; it was a waste of time. On a scale from 1-4, I would give it a 1 out of 4. The story line was rather predictable and not all that smooth. The excessive language, his mocking of how the British talked, and the unnecessary gore that would come into play at seemingly random moments— just not a great read. I think that Jack Elgos has some potential as an author, but he still has yet to find his rhythm.
View "The Killer" on Amazon
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