The Crucifix Killer – A book review.

I haven’t felt very well the past couple of days, Tom has given me his cold and it’s really dragged me down. I struggled to do anything yesterday afternoon/ evening and that’s how I managed to read my book in a day. Plus, it’s SO good. It was another Christmas present and I think it’s one of the best thrillers I’ve read in ages. Sometimes you really need to listen to your body and do what it says. I knew I had to just rest and stop feeling guilty for doing it. I love being productive, but when I burn out, it takes me a while to recover. So this morning I thought it would be best if I just took some time out for me, particularly after a bad night sleep and just read my book.

I read around a third of it yesterday afternoon and I was so engrossed, but parts of it were actually quite terrifying so thought I would save the rest for today. I started reading it along with my morning cuppa and I don’t think I stopped for about two hours and that was to go and get some breakfast and another tea. It’s the first book I have read by Chris Carter and it won’t be the last!

The Crucifix Killer is the first book in a series featuring Detective Robert Hunter. It’s set in LA and there are a couple of mini narratives throughout the story. Right from the start, it’s very gripping. Hunter is a very intriguing protagonist. You can tell he’s intelligent and is being taunted by the killer. Hunter is the only one the killer talks to – ringing him each time there is a new victim and when there might be another, letting the detective know he won’t be able to save them. What the killer does to the first victim actually makes me grimace. It is so well written you can imagine the pain and the extent of the torture carried out. It’s truly barbaric and cruel.

Here’s the thing. Hunter thought that had caught the crucifix killer a couple of years ago and he had since been executed. At first, he thinks it might be a copycat killer, but when he sees the victim has been branded with the double crucifix on the neck, he knows it’s the real deal and they had convicted the wrong person. Worse still, it’s the second time they had sent down the wrong man.

With the killer seeming to be more determined than ever to run rings about the LA detective department, Hunter and his new partner, Garcia, desperately try to find a pattern, or a mistake. After the death of his old partner, Hunter struggles to cope and feels guilty. He went on holiday after they believed they had caught the killer and died while with his wife, who was also Hunter’s cousin and only family member. He is awoken from a one night stand when the killer gets back in contact with him. Drinking too much and suffering from insomnia, Hunter drags himself to the crime scene where what awaits him is horrific. The first one has been skinned alive and tortured by having vinegar poured into her wounds until her organs finally give out to the immense pain.

With the killer playing cat and mouse with Hunter, the pressure is building so the press don’t find out that they have yet again let the real killer get away.

Throughout the books, we see how much evil is really out there. Hunter tries to start a new relationship with Isabella – the one night stand and is constantly interrupted by news of a new victim. Garcia struggles on his first case because of the trauma the victims have to endure and his marriage falls into jeopardy.

The intensity of the book and the characterisation is sensational. I really rate it and I found it so gripping. It reminded me of things I was taught when I was studying for my MA in Creative Writing where you should show your reader, and not just tell. I think Carter has done a fantastic job with this and I have already ordered the second book in the series. It’s hard not to go into too much detail and give things away, but if you’re a crime/ thriller fan, you need to buy this book!

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