MANTIS by Daniel Storm


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Storm’s (Reaper’s Gate, 2013) novel traces the hunt to find an unlikely serial killer.

After FBI agent Melvin Gibson—“not a model agent by any measure”—crashes a boat in Florida while in hot pursuit of a suspect, he and his loyal partner, Khoren, are reassigned to Chicago. Though they’re highly disappointed by the move, little do they know that a terrifying criminal awaits in the Windy City. Mild-mannered Evan Felder may seem like a perfectly average citizen with his wife, kids and house in the suburbs, but when a series of headaches reveals a brain tumor, his life changes forever. As Evan becomes tormented with constant pain, he withdraws from the familiar world around him and focuses instead on committing grisly murders. Targeting homosexuals (for reasons explained later), once-harmless Evan not only kills but mutilates his victims. With his twisted audacity garnering media attention, the hunt is on for the killer known as the Mantis—“the body of the victim had appeared as though a giant Mantis had gotten hold of the body and feasted on the fleshy parts.” Embodying much of the standard rebel-cop fare, Gibson is an agent who gets results even if he has to ruffle a few feathers along the way: “Bullshit! Special Agent Gibson, must I remind you that you work for me and the Bureau?” While his pursuers don’t offer much in the way of novel police characters, what keeps the search for the Mantis lively is Evan’s descent into madness. Never one to settle, he searches for new victims and new ways to shock the public, calling for even more swiftness from the forces trying to stop him. Though Evan isn’t as clever as Hannibal Lecter, they share a sense of depravity and self-confidence, making Evan a memorable villain, especially since he appears to be “the poster-child for ‘Mr. Average America.’ ”

Despite frequently giving into thriller clichés, a story notable for the decline of its sinister, once-harmless villain.

ISBN: 978-0985122881
Publisher: Second Chance Publications
Program: Kirkus Indie
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