It has only been a couple years since I first read a book by Hunter Shea and I immediately became a fan. With books such as The Dover Demon, The Island of the Forbidden, and Tortures of the Damned, new books by Shea have become must-reads for me. I was happy to get an advance review copy of I Kill in Peace and wasted little time starting the book hoping for another frightening read.
Peter Blades was no stranger to hard work. He had worked hard all of his adult life to climb the corporate ladder to a comfortable level at which he could provide for his family without giving his life to his work. He loved his wife and daughter and worked to give them all they needed to be happy. He had worked hard to achieve a sufficient level of happiness himself. It is not surprising that when he became a murderer, he worked hard to achieve a level of cold-bloodedness needed to do end lives to the best of his abilities.
Peter never wanted to be a murderer. He seemed to fall into it with no choice. When he was suddenly laid off from his job after being warned by a strange text message and then received instructions to go to his ex-boss’s house, things just kind of seemed to run with a mind of their own. Peter soon found his murderous spree at odds with what he wanted his life to become. Now he must work to make each murder bigger and better to keep himself free while struggling to uncover what force had been controlling him before it is too late to save himself and his family from the evil that is growing stronger every day.
Hunter Shea knows how to craft an exciting book and I Kill in Peace is a prime example of this. The novella takes a chapter or so to get started and then kicks into gear. While the action comes quickly, Shea still keeps a tight rein on the pacing so that it never reaches a breakneck pace. Instead, the story just seems to flow naturally with just enough introspection by Peter to flesh him out as a character as much if not more than I would expect from a novella. I found myself beginning to sympathize with Peter if not exactly condoning his actions but he does become a kind of odd character as he is both sympathetic as well as despicable at the same time. This turmoil that Shea grows in the reader for his protagonist fits right in with the story as the motivation behind his actions comes to light.
I Kill in Peace is not a perfect novella but it is a compelling one that kept me turning the pages from the start. Shea builds up the story at a perfect pace and then the final reveal takes the story well off the beaten path to give the story a unique feel. What at first appears to be random events all come together in an unexpected way that gives the story a much different feel than what I picked up at the beginning. It is difficult to surprise me over the course of a story but Shea manages to accomplish just that and I can honestly say that I did not pick up on the way that the story would turn out. What started off to be an interesting story got a much stronger pay off than I had expected and shows just how good a storyteller Shea really is. I Kill in Peace is a rare treat that is sure to thrill not only Shea’s fans but also fans of horror in general and is further proof that Shea is a talent that deserves to be read by a much wider audience.
I would like to thank Samhain Publishing and NetGalley for this advance review copy. I Kill in Peace is scheduled to be released in April.