2 out of 4 stars
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Slaying of the Innocents by Robert Dustman is a fast-paced crime thriller set in the small town of Clover Valley, Washington. Phillip Gaines is a New York City Detective who is looking for a change of pace so he can spend more time with his family. He uproots them all and transfers across the country to Washington. Things are slow at Detective Gaines's new department, just as he hoped they would be. The quiet doesn't last for long as the case of a local woman's brutal murder lands in his lap. Soon Gaines is right back where he doesn't want to be, working long hours away from his family and investigating the actions of someone who can only be described as pure evil.
What starts out as one murder quickly snowballs into more and more innocent lives are being taken, each attack just as gruesome as the one before. Detective Gaines is able to figure out that the killer appears to be using some sort of medieval weapon to attack their victims. Are supernatural forces at work here? Other leads point to a cult following of a popular video game. How many more shocking murders must take place before the killer can finally be tracked down? This certainly isn't the small town lifestyle Gaines had bargained for.
The plot was the most interesting part of this book for me. I was genuinely interested in what the motivation for the killer could possibly be. Their weapon of choice also added a layer of mystery that I wanted to know more about. As a frequent thriller reader, I have never heard of a weapon quite like the one in the book. I'm not a squeamish reader, so some of the more gory details didn't bother me like they might for others.
I did find the characters to be a little stereotypical for my liking. There was a mob boss with an Italian accent and a penchant for cigars, a group of goth kids who cause trouble at school, and a police detective who drinks too much. The characters weren't anything new or special. They were all very one-dimensional, which made it difficult to relate to any of them or get emotionally attached.
Another qualm I have is wishing the author had taken more time with the details. The action moves at such a quick rate that it barely gives the reader time to digest what is happening before it moves on to the next thing. This made the storytelling feel unbalanced and it was hard to keep track of what lead we were supposed to be following next.
I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. The book needs another round of editing, as I found plenty of mistakes throughout. I also think the characters need to be more fleshed out and less generic. People that are looking for a crime thriller that they can get through quickly and don't have to think too much about will enjoy this book. Readers who don't like reading about violence should avoid this book.
Slaying of the Innocents
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