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Killing Matt Cooper - A Dark Erotic Thriller (The Knight Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I was wrong. It wasn't nauseatingly permissive, like I expected. There is some real depth here. But it took me a little while to figure that out. 'Cause, in the beginning, the book did a good job of setting itself up as just such a piece of shallow exploration of sexual escapism and male entitlement.
The whole first 15% is taken up entirely by an extended, first person (from the POV of the aggressor) account of a rape and then a brief murder. At the time I found this horribly distasteful and thought, 'yep there it is. This guy is really gonna try to play this off as OK, isn't he?' I was discomfited not by the eventual murder, but because, in the end, the woman was supposed to have enjoyed being dominated and raped. God I hate that trope! I really really do.
Honestly, I almost didn't make it. At about 13%, and having gotten nothing more than an unusually long (for such a short book) and uncomfortable rape scene, I almost gave up. I essentially said to myself, 'if this is just some literarily handed sicko living out his rape fantasies I'm not interested. I'm out!' But I figured in all fairness I should at least make it into the meat of the book before abandoning it...giving it the benefit of the doubt, of course, that there would eventually be meat. There is.
I'm thrilled I did. 'Cause Samuel Knight has a great voice! He's mocking and self-deprecating, delusional and poignantly self-aware. Sometimes, it's not possible to tell which is which and that makes him eminently relatable in that respect. Oh...and he's truly sick. (So not wholly relatable, after all.) He's seriously twisted in the head, totally crackerjacks, and not in a harmless, stupid-happy kind of way, but in a dangerous, remorseless psycho-killer kind of way. The thing is, you still kind of like him. Hell, you do like him; you just tell yourself that you shouldn't, 'cause, you know, he's nutzo.
The upside of that agonising first scene (and I'm sorry to keep harping on about it, but it was a bit like riding shotgun with Anthony Sowell for a little while there) is that the reader is painfully aware of what Samuel is doing while he goes about his normal sexual-predator-routine, without the author ever having to do anymore than drop a euphemism. It wasn't until later in the book that I was able to appreciate the purpose of dropping such a detailed event so early on. Plus, the book does have a great opening line.
There are also some real situational gems. I wish I could relate them all, but they would be spoilers and in such a short piece it wouldn't take much to ruin if for others. I'll just say, for those who have read it, Samuel's postcoital thoughts on his facial expression was my favourite. (There, I think that's clear enough to identify and vague enough to not give anything away.)
I don't know if this is the first of a series. There are certainly threads left open...Matt Cooper for one. But the story still has a complete feel to it. After a rough start...which, no doubt, was intended to be just so...I ended up really liking it. I liked the character's internal dialogue, his attempt to find human closeness, his willingness to accept his own ugliness and welcome his eventual just rewards. I may have hated his actions, but I liked HIM. The thing is that they really shouldn't be separable.
Thrillers are usually not my genre but this one just sounded so interesting I thought I would give it a try and I am glad that I did. I was intrigued by the plot and the POV being that of a serial killer, this isn't something that I have read before so I was eager to find out how John Cassian thinks a killer may tick.
I was warned that I was going to be disturbed by this book, I have to say that I wasn't. Not sure what that says about me but I wasn't. The first murder was explicit in nature and I found it kind of erotic....... The method used by the killer seems to me to be a very passive and gentle way to bring about someone's end, I don't feel that the way he killed his victims really chimed with the feelings behind his motivation to kill. The caveat behind the choice of victim was also a way for the author to play it safe, it gave a small justification to his murders where I don't think that the character would have logically needed one. But then I cut my teeth on Richard Layman novels where the only things his victims needed were to be blonde, early 20s and wearing a chambray shirt....
I did feel sorry for the killer, he clearly had some kind of personality disorder that stopped him from understanding how to deal with people. The FBI agent was also very refreshing, its nice to have a female with such a kick butt attitude!
It was a very short book and I think there is more that can be explored here, maybe the author will delve into some of the past mentioned in the story or maybe it was just one of those ideas that needed to be exorcised?
But that said I liked the open ending, I felt that it left lots to the reader's imagination!
All in all a great entertaining yarn and well worth a read!
By the end, you will be satisfied but want more. I can’t wait for a sequel or anything else the author, John Cassian decides to write.
Not for the timid reader, Cassian pulls no punches. His protagonist killer is unapologetically sick and twisted, but strangely likable. The book is billed as a “dark erotic thriller” but it is not erotica at all. It is a fun, fast-paced thriller covering a very dark topic. It includes explicit sexual situations that are essential to the story line and are never gratuitous or extraneous. I could not be more impressed with the quality of the writing or the compelling nature of the story.
“Killing Matt Cooper” has a permanent place on my favorite books shelf! Cassian successfully captured the feel of a “Criminal Minds” type television show, but transformed it into a fascinating, “Dexter” like, view inside the mind of a serial killer. In many ways I was reminded of the excellent scenes from the killer’s perspective in Thomas Harris’ classic thrillers "Red Dragon” and “Silence Of The Lambs.”
Don’t miss this one, you won’t be sorry.
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