Friday, December 20, 2013

read: Cain's Blood (3 stars)

Cain's BloodCain's Blood by Geoffrey Girard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anyone not expecting a book about serial killers, or in this case, clones of those serial killers, to not be sick and twisted is fooling themselves. What we have here is a solid first novel that is genuinely creepy and not for the squeamish.

What's also a little creepy is the encyclopedic knowledge about serial killers, their lives and their 'careers' demonstrated by (and freely acknowledged by) the author. He uses this knowledge to build a world where he can freely explore the issues of nurture vs. nature and the consequences of unfettered scientific inquiry and military avarice along the lines of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The characters and settings here are well-drawn. The prose is strong and the plot well-developed.

What knocked me out of the story from time to time were the glaring inconsistencies and implausibilities in the science. Is this about cloning and genetics and free will? Or is it about a nerve gas that overrides all three? It tried to be about both, using the latter to provide a (superfluous) ticking clock to add urgency to the story about the former.

It will be interesting to see what this author does in the future. He's already published a young adult novel that is a companion to this book.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review.

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