Book Review – The Killing Lessons by Saul Black

A terrifyingly perversely addictive dark thriller to be read in the daytime. 5/5.

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Do not read this. No reader deserves to be frightened by this” – screamed the front cover. Pffffttt… This, of course, egged me on even more. I love a hauntingly terrifying dark thriller, blacker than darkness itself. Kinda makes me remember what I read about an advertisement for a printer that has a new black ink that is true black, as compared to other inkjet printers that combine the three primary colors to make black, which is more like very, very dark grey in comparison. Anyway, I digress.

Two terrifying killers are on the loose, mutilating their victims in a obscene, unnaturally strange order. It is detective Valerie Hart’s job to uncover the mystery and piece the scraps of clues together. However, vodka-bingeing Valerie does not exactly have her life in order either, crippled with a devastating history of herself and the only man she’s ever loved. Meanwhile, one of the victim’s daughter manages to survive and run away from the crime scene. Badly injured in her escape, will she ever be able to make it in time to exact justice on her mother’s killers? In a twist of irony, the killers are not spared from mental stability either. Part of the story is told from their point of view.

This book manages to explore all the unspeakable fears we feel but do not say, or rather – do not dare to think about. Ruthlessness and perverseness are just some of the feelings that may creep into your mind when devouring the story. At many times, you may even be tempted to skip through a few pages or cheat and look ahead just to see where the plot brings you. I know, because it happened to me a few times (chuckle). I just wanted to silently motivate ten year old Nell (survivor of her mother’s murder) on. C’mon Nell, you can do it, don’t look behind now, No! Go the other waaayy, you get the idea. It is with such believability and relatability that Black connects you with the characters.

We also get to see through the eyes of the deranged, albeit mentally corrupted killers, and get some background information into how they became so. This balances the story somewhat without making the murders seem like faceless crimes, and also lends believability by giving them “motive” for their crime. I use “motive” here loosely for political correctness, as there is obviously no justifiable reason for their crime in modern civil society.

Overall, a very compelling page-turner. Don’t read this at night in the middle of a dark cabin smack in a secluded forest. you’ve been warned.

Rating: 5/5

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