The body looked like all the others: a female bound at the wrists and ankles, blood-oozing welts criss-crossing her buttocks, crushed larynx; most of all, her palate was pierced with that wickedly shaped fishing hook for controlling her while she endured the unspeakable. Yet, one thing distinguished her from the other corpses: she was thawing in Gus Bolderjack’s favourite chair. Bolderjack, a psychotherapist, had been an exceptional profiler who couldn’t stay out of the action. He’d bait serial killers into stalking him, and then snare them by hook or by crook. Labelled hero by some and psycho shrink by others, one thing was clear: his methods worked. Then, after losing a feud with U. S. Attorney Carrie Sullivan-Bledsoe over a murderer’s plea bargain he departed the field to join his lover in her high-end Sun Valley resort clinic, tending to the emotional needs of the rich and richer. That works for a while until Sullivan-Bledsoe, now a state attorney general, loses her son to a kidnapper at nearly the same time a powerful tabloid publisher’s niece disappears. Bolderjack gets sucked into the fray, where he finds himself in a universe ruled by political ambition and intriguing, double-dealing characters, including those he’s trying to help. The further he pushes into the web the more venom he encounters and the more he has to face his own shortcomings. To top it off he becomes the target of two gruesome serial killers sharing goals and a lust for vengeance, and the only way to save himself is to punch through the politics and get the killers before they get him.
This book was really well done. I feel privileged to read a story featuring the heightened feelings of an experienced individual, and his view of what would make a great story for the reader. Thank you Mr. Hartley for the entertainment. *Moral Compass On* I find it to be somewhat inhumane liking a book that involves such disgusting acts that would even make the most notorious of killer blush.*Moral Compass Off* But devilishly I liked the story very much. With the typical sado-sexual behaviour to the nth degree and the commonly found Oedipal complex, these guys don’t stray far from the stereotype. In fact they present the (ab)normal run-of-the-mill/garden variety serial killer with a little twist. The difference with these serial killer’s is their thirst for direct revenge and the issuance of teamwork among their very own constructed motley crew. Their schemes are diabolical and incredibly unrelenting, yet quite compelling.
Gus Bolderjack, is a character that for me was easily relatable. Self-deprecating humour is one that is not ordinarily found within civil authoritarians and their enlarged ego. I guess that is what makes him an anomaly as he prefers the life of a renegade figure rather than being one of the good ol’ boys. It is a breath of fresh air to see a man admit to his “short”comings and be comfortable enough to attack the manhood of the world’s most nefarious beings. The way he communicates with the killer’s is often a procedural “no no”, but for Gus he has honest intentions with his heart in the right place.
There is something undeniably haunting in the written word. You can watch your television dramas and movies about creepy events, but when the final scene has ended you shut it off and go back to the real world. With novels, the idea of an author conjuring up this story for the reader tends to stick with me for a while. With this book it seemed that the author was desensitized from his past experiences serving “hard time” as a psychologist and journalist. It was similar to the part of the book when a young med school graduate Valerie Gomez was on hand for her very first bodily examination and the pathologist technologist Rollo Cucas said:
“You actually got lucky for your first autopsy experience. There’s no putrefaction to speak of. All the smell is from urine and feces.”
The innocence and anxiety commonly found in new experiences is a funny dynamic when paired with hardened professionals.
One problem I have with books that focus on the sociopathic is the thought of other like-minded individuals getting ideas from the book and using it as an aid in strengthening their own demonic plot. Author’s learned knowledge often make it too easy for bad people to do bad things, after reading I feel compelled to walk around with my guard up, I am a little extra defensive and cautious around strange individuals. Especially when an arsenal includes that of chemicals. The use of burying victims alive, poison or some other paralysing concoction to subdue their victims makes me sick and hauntingly reminds me of Jeff Bridges in The Vanishing. To this day whenever I watch him as “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski I see his character from The Vanishing. Amazing how the times have changed the state of unconscious-rendering devices from chloroform and ether to present day tetradotoxin which is found in puffer fish found in Japan called Fugu and the Poison Dart Frogs from South America.
” ‘Sometimes evil things happen to good people. Jan left you at the restroom because she’s a woman, and woman are evil. Your mom was probably a whore and drove your papa away, then abandoned you. I know my momma was a whore and my parents left too.’
‘What’s a hoar?’
‘Just another name for a woman. They’re all evil, all whores. Now be quiet and eat.’ “
*To say Raol Corvo has a vendetta against woman would be a massive understatement. In this passage Raol also shows his utilization of psychological grooming towards his victims to allow for the manifestation of Stockholm Syndrome.*
I thought the pacing of the book was executed really well at times, but really slooowwweeeddd down at a time when one would believe the book would be rolling. The book was gripping from the first page and strung me along for the first two hundred pages, but eventually the story languished with occasional moments of entertainment. From my past experiences most books will be dull for the majority of the book, but will redeem itself with a superb finish and will in turn psychologically manipulate my overall perspective of the book rather unjustifiably. As I explained earlier The Octopus Hook Murders had an adverse effect for me. Perhaps if the moments of intrigue were spread out equitably throughout the entire book my feelings would be more different. Unfortunately, when your enthralled at the beginning and taper off to a “meh” response at the end their was something wrong with the delivery of the end of the story. Their is a psychological strategy that would best explain what I want to say but it escapes me. Along the same line, an older friend gave me some sage advice for woman when I was a young buck; end with a bang and always keep them wanting more. Unfortunately the book failed to live up to this time and tested proclamation.
This book is recommended for people that enjoy a good thriller and are not put off by the irregularity of a serial killer’s sexual exploits or paper trails depicting extreme violence.
” ‘You don’t know me, but I’m Idaho’s attorney general, and you’re very important to me, I’ll see that you’re very well taken care of.’
Looking embarrassed, he said ‘Jan can do that.’
Carrie laughed and said ‘I’m sure she can.’ Then she was off to greet her gaggle of deputies, the dynamic camera duo in tow.
‘Wonder if I can arrest her.’ Mattie said to Gus
‘Grand larceny, thunder.’ “
*I thought this was a funny exchanging showing how politics can rear its ugly head even during the most sensitive of times. *