Hall of Fame Review: I Am Death by Chris Carter

Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Title: I Am Death
Author: Chris Carter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 30th July 2015
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781471132230
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
AN EVIL MIND was Chris Carters's most acclaimed novel to date, described by the Daily mail as: 'A chilling, compulsive portrait of a psychopath, and proves that Carter is now in the Jeffrey Deaver class.' It spent three weeks in the Sunday Times top ten and received brilliant reviews and sales.

This terrifying new standalone thriller reunites Hunter and Garcia in their most explosive case to date.

Anyone who reads my blog will probably know that I am a huge Chris Carter fan. I Am Death was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015. I finished I Am Death at 3 a.m. one Saturday morning and it left me reeling. I would have to say that Chris is probably now my favourite crime fiction author of all time, and I firmly believe that he is just in a league of his own. If anybody can recommend me similar authors with books released in the last ten years, please do!

At the time of writing this review I can't see an official blurb, or at least, not one that hints at what the story is about and so I went into I Am Death with no idea of what to expect, which is unusual for me because I almost always read the blurb. For that reason it's difficult to know where to begin and how much to give away. Detective Robert Hunter has barely returned to work after his vacation (which wasn't exactly a vacation, read An Evil Mind to find out why) when he is called into his Captain's office to be given his next case. The most I can say about the case is that women are being abducted in LA before their mutilated bodies are left, arranged in various ways for the police to find and with the words I AM DEATH being left behind whether in the victim's blood or inside the victim. Once the mayor gets involved the pressure is really on for Hunter to shut this case down.

For new readers Hunter works for the Homicide Special Section of the LAPD, dealing with Ultra-Violent crimes. He is an extremely clever and gifted individual who uses his ability to step into the killer's shoes to give him that edge when trying to solve a case. He is easily my favourite fictional detective to read about. He is somewhat of a 'Supercop' but not in that sickly Alex Cross way, more in a 'Holy shit, this guy is f***ing amazing way'. He also likes chilli-flavoured beef jerky and cold pizza. Pretty much a faultless character! Also part of the UV unit is his partner Garcia who makes a welcome return in I Am Death, after a humorous opening that fooled both me and Hunter!

The twists that are delivered in I Am Death really are incredible, and they come when you least expect them. I finished this book feeling like I'd been put through the wringer, and the term book hangover has never applied more than when I finished this. I found I Am Death to be a really thought-provoking read in terms of how our killer thinks. The reasonings behind the killings giving real pause for thought, and it had me coming up with numerous scenarios as I read. Because of not wanting to step into spoiler territory I am wary about how much I should reveal (but I want to talk about this book!) but Hunter and Garcia soon realise that they aren't dealing with your dictionary definition sociopath, but rather somebody unlike anyone they have ever hunted before. Somebody who is in complete control, and who kills not because he feels the need to, but because he wants to. And aren't those characters always the more scary to read about?

Once those revelations start coming out towards the end of I Am Death, everything just slots into place perfectly. Chris's characters are always killed in the most brutal and sadistic of ways, so wonderfully violent. But no matter how violent the crime, and no matter who the killer is they are always haunting reads. Focusing on real and genuine evil. Once again this is a real study of a damaged mind, so very believable that even without knowing the history of Chris Carter, you can tell he's somebody with real knowledge of everything that he writes about. Also, Chris's murders are always more impactful because he spends a little time building up his victims, really humanising them so readers feel real empathy towards them and so when they eventually fall victim to the killer, the reader really feels it, making this a very powerful and tense read.

You know when you watch a scary film and your hearts beating and you kind of lose all sense of everything around you (except for those noises that make you nervous)? I had all of that and more with I Am Death and it was more scary, gripping and intense than any film I have watched recently. The last third especially, my heart was pounding so fast I was afraid for my health. I even shouted at somebody for interrupting me as I was reading it and nearing that final section. The overall ending was nothing short of perfection, a true crime fiction masterpiece. I had a few ideas in my head of how things might play out and I was kind of right but the great thing about Chris's books is that you will never work out the full story, meaning that most readers should be left surprised.

I get annoyed when somebody posts a negative review, of any book and somehow it is considered more 'honest'. Well Chris Carter might be my favourite crime author but my review is completely honest and in actual fact, this is probably a toned down version of just how much I enjoyed this book! Chris Carter is in a league of his own and his Robert Hunter series should be looked at as a true masterclass in how to write crime fiction, how to truly enthrall a reader and leave them desperate for more. Crime fiction is one of the busiest and biggest genres and I like to think that my list of favourites are amongst the best, and sitting pretty at number one is Chris Carter and Robert Hunter, so please pick up his books if you haven't already. I can almost guarantee that you will love them. And I'm sure Northern Crime, Grab This Book and I Love Reading would tell you I am right on that last part!

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