- Author: Chris Carter
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publishing year: 2009
- Number of pages: 342 (Tolino e-reader)
- Series: Robert Hunter
- Nederlandse vertaling: Handtekening van het Kwaad
- ISBN: 978-1847378415
- My rating: 4/5
In a derelict cottage in Los Angeles National Forest, a young woman is found savagely murdered. Naked, strung from two wooden posts, the skin has been ripped from her face – while she was alive. On the nape of her neck is carved a strange double-cross: the signature of a psychopath known as the Crucifix Killer.
But that’s not possible. Because, two years ago, the Crucifix Killer was caught and executed.
Could this be the work of a copycat killer? Someone who has somehow accessed intricate details of the earlier murders – details that were never made public? Or is Homicide Detective Robert Hunter forced to face the unthinkable? Is the real Crucifix Killer still out there, ready to embark once again on a vicious killing spree, selecting his victims seemingly at random, taunting Hunter with his inability to catch him?
Robert Hunter and his rookie partner are about to enter a nightmare beyond imagining, where there’s no such thing as a quick death.
Serial killers and detectives on the prowl for them, such books are in abundance (luckily for us readers) and with each new writer in this genre I find I fall in love with these books over and over… I recently discovered MJ Arlidge and now I found Chris Carter, who apparently has been writing his Robert Hunter series since 2009… why am I only starting to read his books now? Beats me! But better late than never!
The worst thing for a detective is to think they have found the culprit, convict them and then years later discovering you had the wrong man and the search needs to start all over again, re-evaluate everything again… it is too easy to presume you know the killer and their motives. Robert Hunter and his new partner Garcia are put onto a case that has many similarities with a case Hunter (and his previous, now dead, partner Scott Wilson) worked on. But they had someone incarcerated for those crimes, he confessed being the Crucifix Killer, so there was no need to think that they had the wrong man. Only it appears now that they did. The same crucifix carved into the back of this new victim makes them realise they had the wrong man and the Crucifix Killer is still on the loose. A hunt for this serial killer is being put into motion, possibly at the expense of their own lives.
Who doesn’t like a little gore-fest? I do! I love how ‘original’ killers (in books and movies!) can be, how vicious some of them are. It’s not all throat cutting or a bullet through the head… no, for me a killer (again: in books and movies!) should be cruel, vindictive, nasty, bloody and they have to play games with their victims… something we got to see in the Saw movies especially and has since gained huge momentum in different media.
Carter has either been inspired by those movies, or at least has a love for them, because I think his written murders are in the same league as what the Jigsaw killer does with his victims (and I believe somebody told me the further in his series, the gorier they get… yaay)
This was definitely a great start in a good series, I’m sure… I will be reading more of his books this Summer.
One little point, but this has been mentioned in previous reviews of mine… I knew who the killer was around halfway this book… this certainly has more to do with the amount of books I read and the movies and tv-shows I watch (especially with (serial) killers in the storyline) so it was no surprise in the end of the book when the reveal came. Luckily this does not spoil the fun for me, as there is still a motive that I need to look for (never would have guessed that motive!) and as I said: I love stories with vicious killers so even though I know early on who it is… I remain interested. It only speeds up my reading, because I want to know whether I’m right or not and I want to know why someone does what they do…
On to the next killer, I’d say!
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