Publisher: Touchstone (September 3, 2013)
Review by: Alicia Banks
Our thoughts: It all started with peas. Mendel and pea plants. This is how the book opens… a brief history of how cloning came about. Dolly the sheep finds her way onto the scene. A decade later, we suddenly have human clones living here in the United States. And not just any human clones. These are clones of some of the most notorious serial killers of our time. Oh, it gets worse. There are multiple clones of each of these serial killers, some groomed to become exactly like the original with sanctioned abuse of the mere children they are while others are placed in a loving environment to test the nature/nurture theory.
And then all hell breaks loose. One of the doctors in charge of this secret government experiment completely loses his shit and unleashes 6 killer clones in teenaged form on the world. Before they break out of the facility they are kept, they go on a killing spree to test out their skills. It’s gruesome. It’s vile. It’s quite an opening to the horrors that follow it in this book.
Once the clones escape, the government is called in to find them and bring them back to DSTI (Dynamic Solutions Technology Institute). Enter former black ops soldier, Shawn Castillo. Castillo’s past is filled with covert military missions which eventually resulted in his imprisonment and torture before being rescued by an unknown source. Once stateside, Castillo underwent months of therapy for PTSD. The clone location and capture is his first mission as a paid-for-hire civilian.
As Castillo starts his investigation, he arrives at the home of Dr. Jacobson, the doc who set the 6 clones of Albert Fish, Jeffrey Dahmer, Henry Lee Lucas, Dennis Rader, Ted Bundy, and David Berkowitz loose. There he finds Jacobson’s journal, notes, and files and one more thing… Jacobson’s adopted son, Jeffrey. Yep, you guessed it. Jacobson adopted a Dahmer clone, Jeff/82 to be exact. Only this kid was raised in a loving environment (by a lunatic, but hey, nobody’s perfect). This kid is both terrified and smart, just learning from his adoptive father that he is what he is. Odder couples have happened, but the team of Castillo and Jeffrey Jacobson work together throughout the book to find not just the 6 clones but a dozen more that Dr. Jacobson secretly placed in adoptive families.
There’s tons of military action in the book, A LOT of torture and killing (this book is not for the faint of heart. I had to put it down a couple of times because the details are so horrific), and some really good action scenes. The covert operations and conspiracy theories abound, but they work. There is a lot of info to follow, both scientific and military-wise. The author seemed to take great care to do his research, and it shows.
I don’t want to spoil the extra surprises waiting for you in this book, but it captured my attention and kept me interested throughout. I read it in three day’s time. I probably could have gotten through it even faster, but like I said before, I had to stop reading after a few of the torture scenes. They were very well written, probably the best writing in the book. This is the stuff you’re reading the book for after all, right? Girard does not disappoint.
Rating: 8 out of 10