The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.
Blood Echo, by Christopher Rice,is the second in a series about a sometimes-super human who pursues serial killers. These books are not the typical straightforward thrillers, but do have some traces of sci-fi aspects. As a victim herself, Charlotte “Charley” Rowe wants justice and vengeance against those who perpetuate violence by working closely with the CEO of a pharmaceutical company, Cole Graydon.
“I wrote Charley as Confidant and determined. I did not want to write her as the female Incredible Hulk. The drug she takes to give her superpowers only lasts for three hours, after that she returns to a sense of normalcy. She questions when should she take the drug, how to use the power it unleashes, and should she take it? I do embrace when people make the comic book comparison. I would compare it to the Avenger series that has deeply human relationships. There is also an organization that has no bounds.”
The book opens with intense action. Charley is pursuing a serial killer and after capturing her prey she returns to Altamira California to rest and meet up with her friends and lover. But her peaceful R & R is interrupted when it becomes obvious something sinister is happening. The girlfriend of one of the town’s richest developers is accused of criminal activity.A vast and explosive criminal conspiracy is developing in Altamira. As the fate of Charlotte’s hometown hangs in the balance, and everyone she cares about is in danger, she has no choice but to use her powers to go after the bad guys.
Anyone who has not read the first book might want to in order to understand the back story. Charlotte was kidnapped and raised by serial killers until she was rescued. Known for being “The Burning Girl,” she has no peace and quiet. She has become an experiment, gaining superpower strength after taking the drugZypraxon. This enables her to go after the evil doers, ending their violence. Knowing she can literally rip someone to pieces she tries to control it, preferring to capture and have them punished then to kill them.
Rice noted, “I think many of the jail house interviews of them were based on lies. Ted Bundy tried to blame pornography for his actions. The term for this kind of argument is “mistaking correlation for cause ability.” As a writer, I like to speculate on what really makes a monster tick. I read a book about the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez, who killed a lot of people in a short period of time. Right after his arrest he told how he waited until 2 AM because people were asleep. He did not have the attitude ‘I am a victim,’ and did not commit these crimes because he thought of himself as a victim. I think the reasons for killing are simplistic, like a Great White Shark. I am more interested in the survivors than the killers. This includes Charley’s world. She and the developer of the drug, Dylan aka Noah, now have a sense of rage. They feel there will never be closure when someone close is taken away by a murderer. These survivors are working their way out of the darkness created by the killer.”
The author writes these cast of characters as very complex and unique. It is a fascinating read where people will not want to put the book down.