PUNISHMENT AND SACRIFICE by John Reid

PUNISHMENT AND SACRIFICE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Twin brothers, a serial killer and a cop, face off in this sadistic thriller.

To avenge the deaths of his wife and daughter, Dr. Jack Barker murders and rapes a young couple who he claims is responsible for those crimes. Detectives Mike Swanson and Jeff Pierce start investigating the case and learn from their superior, and Mike’s adoptive stepfather, that these are the eighth and ninth murders of their kind. Parallel storylines interweave the investigation and Jack’s ongoing killing spree, which is revealed to be a lifelong one-man tour de force of extermination. As indicated from early on in the story, it comes as little surprise that Jack and Mike are long-lost twin brothers, raised by an abusive, molesting father. One of Jack’s goals in committing murder is to meet Mike–whose amnesia prevents him from remembering any part of his abusive childhood–and kill him, in part to exact justice on behalf of grieving parents whose children were victims of criminals who were never convicted. The brothers are alike in many ways. Both believe in vigilante justice–there is a heavy emphasis on anti-child abuse messages and a Dirty Harry-esque disdain for liberal attitudes to justice–and are recovering alcoholics. Mike and Jack clearly represent good and evil, which eventually relegates all other characters to the story’s sidelines. The admirable plot twists indicate that this would be a fun, trashy beach read, but the author’s prose is plagued by poor writing, and the relentless violence is neither enlightening nor enjoyable.

Poised awkwardly between a conservative tract on justice and a straight thriller.

Pub Date: May 17th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-430-314400
Program: Kirkus Indie
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