The Killing Lessons by Saul Black

"The world was a wonderful place. Full of nightmares"

Detective Valerie Hart is no stranger to the nightmares that fill the world. Unable to cope with the pressure of solving an impossible mystery, Valerie sabotaged her relationship with the only man she ever loved and fell into an alcohol laced depression. Her friends and colleagues worried about her wellbeing, but Valerie was too stubborn to accept any help. Even worse, her personal demons caused the force to question her ability to properly do her job. With a new string of murders surfacing, Valerie continues her downward spiral of overworking and personal neglect and faces the most sadistic serial killer that she's ever encountered.

Five days away from Christmas, ten-year-old Nell Cooper is facing a nightmare of her own. Her older brother is dead, and her single mother lies in a pool of blood downstairs. The two men who entered her home and caused all of this misfortune still don't know that Nell is there. Her mother uses her last breath to desperately urge her young daughter to run from the house and to find help. As one of the murderers becomes aware of the girl's presence, Nell escapes the terrors of her home to the equally inhospitable rural forest that surrounds the estate.

Xander King's whole life has been a nightmare, but he's beginning to put those days behind him. After years of going through life unnoticed and unloved, he's finally found a cause that he can put pride in. This cause . . . capturing, torturing, and murdering innocent women. What started as a solo endeavor was soon made more complicated by the addition of an accomplice who doesn't share King's vision. Now as he exacts his reign of terror, King struggles to maintain the composure and stealth that has kept the authorities in the dark about his true identity and intent.

In The Killing Lessons author Saul Black, a pseudonym for British author Glen Duncan, crafts a masterful story of intrigue and suspense. While the story follows many conventions of the genre, a detective on the verge of professional and personal collapse, a raging serial killer, etc, Black infuses it with enough depth and originality to make it stand out from the pack. Substantial time is devoted to the development of each character, allowing them to brim with a life and reality that keeps the reader engaged throughout. I've read many books featuring insane serial killers, but Black's character is written with a restraint and backstory that makes him one of the most terrifying villains that I've ever read. The Killing Lessons is the rare thriller that manages to be as smart as it is entertaining, and I highly recommend it.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads.

(2016, 1)

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6 Responses to “The Killing Lessons by Saul Black”

  1. After having recently finished a mystery novel I am on the lookout for some more. This one sounds pretty promising, especially as it does so well with the balance of being entertaining and yet still a god mystery where it is hard to predict what will happen!

  2. This one sounds like something I could handle. I'm excited by your description. I'll have to add this to my TBR pile.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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    1. It was very refreshing to read such a great stand alone mystery.

  3. Great review! I am adding this one to my to read pile!

    1. Let me know your thoughts when you finish it!


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