Shame by Alan Russell

2 Stars

Caleb Parker is trying to run away from his past and get out from under the shadow of his father.  A father who happened to be a prolific serial killer with the moniker of Shame.  He had branded his victims by carving the word Shame into their bodies.  Years after his death sentence was carried out, a new string of murders are eerily similar to those of Shame.  Caleb quickly becomes the prime suspect in these murders when police learn who he is and his proximity to the victims.

Caleb forges an unlikely alliance with Elizabeth Line, a writer who published his father’s story after being his only surviving victim.  As the body count increases, they find themselves playing a game of cat and mouse with the killer.  They know that the killer is out to get one of them, but the question is who?  As the killer escalates and comes ever closer to them, they know that their time is short.

The premise was great.  Child of a serial killer being accused of following in his father’s footsteps.  And the surviving victim being thrown back into the mix wondering if someone is trying to finish the job.  That was tantalizing enough to draw me in and made me want to find out more, to see how it would pan out.  But sadly, for me, that didn’t happen.  What started out promising, ended with a whimper.

None of the characters are convincing.  It’s hard to empathize with either Caleb or Elizabeth.  The shocking discoveries aren’t so shocking.  The ultimate reveal was an absolute let down.  The clues are given to it way in advance, so there’s no shock value, there’s no real surprise.  By the end, I just didn’t care enough anymore.  The flipping back and forth between multiple points of view and going from the present to the past was jarring and really didn’t lend anything to the story.  I think it could have been a much stronger story if it was told from the point of view of one character instead of many.

This one just wasn’t for me.  It is a quick read and the premise is strong.  But the story just didn’t live up to what I think it could have been.  It’s a shame…

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Filed under Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

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