>The Kult by Shaun Jeffrey
>In The Kult, Shaun Jeffrey makes a move from horror fiction to the field of the the serial killer novel. Yet again, he manages to firmly plant his flag in an over crowded market. While this is a crime novel, there are scenes of extreme horror.
This is a tale of childhood pacts, and the ramification they bring in later life. The brilliantly named Detective Prosper Snow, is faced with a choice: does he help his childhood friends, whilst trying to solve the case of the brutal serial killer, The Oracle or does he walk away and break the pact?
The Oracle, a brutal, and I mean brutal, you can almost smell the burnt flesh coming of the page, serial killer, abducts his victims based on their predictability. He then proceeds to kill them in a series of extreme manners. The key to catching him is in the clues he leaves the police, a series of photographs of each of his victims. I really don’t want to say too much more about the plot points, as to do so would really spoil it for the reader. Needless to say I tried to decipher the clues, and failed miserably.
As a protagonist, Prosper, is an interesting character, he blames himself for everything that has gone wrong, and everything that goes wrong in the course of the story. Even though he has got a lot to blame himself for, you still end up rooting for him. This is a credit to the writing talents of Shaun. If you were to actually list some of the things that Prosper had done prior to the events told here and what transpires, you wouldn’t like him. A lot of this is down to the fact that Shaun keeps Prosper firmly in the realms of a normal human being, not some super detective who can do no wrong.
The writing is darkly solid, and keeps the plot moving along at breakneck speed to its explosive conclusion. Shaun manages to keep a strong feeling of impending dread throughout the novel. Questions are raised throughout the novel, who or what is the Kult, will Prosper do what is asked of him, who is the Oracle? All of these questions are answered extremely well. I was certainly caught out by the identity of The Kult. And the way in which Shaun handles the decision that Prosper makes in helping or not helping his fiends is handled really well.
This is Shaun’s second novel in six years, I for one really hope that his third novel is out soon, and hope that we haven’t seen the last of Prosper Snow.