The Executioner by Chris Carter
Hi! This review is about a book by Chris Carter. You may remember him from such novels as The Crucifix Killer, The Night Stalker or The Death Sculptor. His stories are all much the same and not meant to be read by children or those interested in high literature.
Although Chris Carter does tend to produce formulaic narratives that concentrate on serial killers of one variety or another, they are still well written and fairly enjoyable. However, given the grizzly means by which Carter’s creations dispatch their victims, Rebel Voice must inquire as to whether the reader would wish to live inside that particular author’s mind?
LA detective, Robert Hunter, heads up a specialist homicide investigations unit that has responsibility for serial killers. When a priest’s body is found inside a church, sans head, Hunter’s team is deployed to assess the circumstances. But one body does not a serial killer summer make, and so it is difficult for Hunter to determine with any degree of certainty if there will be more gory discoveries. They accept that the killer is clearly deranged and begin their inquiries on the basis that it is a ritualistic murder.
However, the person or persons responsible for the cleric’s sordid demise is/are considerate of Hunter’s needs and so it isn’t long before a second and then third body turns up, each demonstrating a link to the previous, and each incredibly violent and bloody. Robert realizes that he is on the trail of someone who enjoys torturing his or her victims to the max. The killer also appears to want public recognition (don’t they all) and so leaves clues for the chasing cops to follow.
Yes, Rebel Voice knows, this is the plot of a thousand other thrillers out there. What separates Carter’s rendition from others is… well… nothing. His story-lines are solid, if with some flaws and irregularities. His character list is decent, and the main protagonists are reasonably believable. The pace is good and flows nicely. The action is exciting if a tad stretched on occasion. All-in-all, The Executioner is a good read in a greyish hue way.
The main problem with this novel is that it could have been written by a robot. It is racing, blood-spattered, production-line fare. Yet, it is decent and will sustain a reader’s interest. But it’s instantly forgettable. It cannot be said to be a great book and is certainly far from being a classic.
Robert Hunter’s pursuit weaves one way and then the next as evermore ingenious methods of torture and death are employed on the hapless victims. Sometimes, it appears as if the entire point of the story is to introduce novel methods of killing, for your delectation of course.
Rebel Voice is concerned that there may be literary societies out there dedicated to votes upon which form of torturous death is the most brutal and therefore admirable to them. These would be organisations who laud the author with the most extreme and explicit murders. Of course, no author will match the reality of the state in terms of the levels of shocking brutality used to kill. Authors engage in fiction whereas governments revel in bloody fact. Horrific thought.
As the investigation continues, Hunter’s folk find that all roads lead back to a high school, and associated street gang, alleged to be responsible for bullying. But the list of the gang’s victims is sizeable and the cops are under pressure as the bodies begin to pile up and smell bad.
Running concurrent to the search for the serial killer is a second thread in which a teenage runaway, with basic telepathic powers, contacts Hunter’s team to inform them of her visions of the killer. But cops are natural skeptics and tend to err on the side of caution where such citizens are concerned. However, the terrified and emotionally exhausted young woman convinces Hunter that she is the real deal, and her assistance then becomes invaluable.
The girl, Mollie, has suffered serious abuse by her ultra-religious father. He is not a forgiving man. When he finds out that his only child has fled to LA on the other side of the country, he determines to find her if only to teach her a sore and perhaps final lesson. But will he get to his daughter before the serial killer who has now discovered that Mollie can see what he does? Good question and I’m not telling you.
The telepathic strand of The Executioner is about the only thing that makes it ever-so-slightly different from the multitude of serial killer thrillers out there. But it’s not enough. Rebel Voice is of the opinion that a good book should be memorable, and a great book should be one that the reader will never want to forget.
In conclusion, The Executioner is a mediocre if mildly entertaining piece of writing that will help pass the time, but only if you aren’t too squeamish. It does do explicit torture and death but strangely shies away from explicit sex. Rebel Voice has reason to wonder if Brazilian born Chris Carter has problems getting an erection. Perhaps men out there would too if their heads were full of what is transposed into Carter’s novels. Any demons in his mind would prove poor companions and little fun for normal citizens.
Sult scale rating, 6.5 out of 10. Entertaining in a porridge-diet kind of way. Some intellectual nutrition that will sustain but won’t invigorate. You won’t remain healthy if consuming only this type of book.