From the Archive: One By One by Chris Carter (5/5)

Tuesday 29 April 2014
Today's From the Archive is for readers who are yet to discover who I think is one of the best crime fiction authors out there, Chris Carter. Chris writes the sort of crime fiction that I just love the read. It's certainly not for the faint hearted or squeamish. The ways he finds for his victims to be killed are certainly unique and, dare I say it, fantastic. I just love reading his books and he has also created one of the best fictional detectives in Robert Hunter. Book 6 is out soon but until then crime fans new to this author have five books to read and enjoy!

Book read and reviewed August 2013

Detective Robert Hunter of the LAPD's Homicide Special Section receives an anonymous call asking him to go to a specific web address - a private broadcast. Hunter logs on and a show devised for his eyes only immediately begins. But the caller doesn't want Detective Hunter to just watch, he wants him to participate, and refusal is simply not an option. Forced to make a sickening choice, Hunter must sit and watch as an unidentified victim is tortured and murdered live over the Internet.

The LAPD, together with the FBI, use everything at their disposal to electronically track the transmission down, but this killer is no amateur, and he was more than prepared for it. Before Hunter and his partner Garcia are even able to get their investigation going, Hunter receives a new phone call.

A new website address. A new victim. But this time the killer has upgraded his game into a live murder reality show, where anyone can cast the deciding vote.


This is without a doubt one of the best crime fiction books I have ever read. And, dare I say it, one of the most enjoyable. From the opening to closing chapter I could not stop reading. I love short chapters, they end so abruptly and usually on a cliffhanger that you really have no choice but to continue reading. Some authors aren't that good with the short chapters, but Chris Carter isn't one of them. He is a fantastic writer and tells one hell of a story.

I read The Hunter a few days ago which is a short story, but it was basically a glorified advert for his books. I didn't need any advert as Carter's books have been on my radar for a few years, I just never got round to reading them. The plot for One By One however convinced me that I needed to start his books ASAP and I started with this book. I was a bit wary at first having not read the previous books but, unlike other books which are part of a series, Carter only mentions a previous book once - he doesn't use whole chapters to tell the reader everything that has happened to the character up till now - and doesn't give away that much of the plot meaning previous books can be read without them being spoilt for the reader here first.

I did love the idea for the book. Hunter is contacted personally and asked to log on to a website where the caller asks Hunter which method he wants the person on the screen to die by. More deaths occur only this time on a website that the people of California can access and vote for their preferred kill method. In the age of reality TV and being able to vote for all kinds of things this was certainly an enjoyable read. A website like this being posted on Twitter and Facebook today would certainly attract thousands of hits and would people vote? I certainly didn't work out who the killer was and I very much enjoyed the ending because it was a surprise. So often in crime fiction the killer is obvious, or is known to the reader early on in the book but books like these are more enjoyable when you don't see twists coming. The killer of this book is probably one of my favourite killers in a crime fiction book.

Overall I reccommend that you read this book. Previous books do not need to have been read in advance although I feel certain parts of the book would invoke more of a reaction from the reader had they established a connection with the characters by knowing more about them. It certainly doesn't take away any enjoyment from the book however if it is your first Carter book.

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