Length: 185 pages
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Lieutenant Carl Kane of the Tampa Police Department is used to working on gruesome cases and terrible homicides. But the woman found dead, dressed in green lingerie, is more than just another case. Before long, another woman is discovered. And autopsy reports confirm Kane’s fears – they’re dealing with a serial killer who is more twisted than they can imagine, and who has big plans of his own.
And being labeled by Kane as nothing more than just another killer who they will apprehend is not a part of those plans.
Kane discovers that he’s up against one of the most ruthless, cunning, and fame-hungry murderers he’s ever known – a murdered who’s targeting everyone close to him. Forced to be a part of the agenda of the man the media have named ‘The Psycho Surgeon’, it’s now up to Kane to find the man responsible for the misery of so many people.
But can Kane stop The Psycho Surgeon before he causes more pain and death? Or will the case cost him everything that he holds dear?As far as crime fiction goes,
There are so many things that Malevolent has going for it. First, the story – it’s a very interesting story that goes deep into the darkness of true evil. You have characters who, when you pause to think about, are absolutely terrifying. They’re chaotic, angry, evil, and so very easy to associate with (making them scarier). It even gives you an insight into the antagonist’s head, taking you step by step through what makes him tick. And it gives new meaning to the understanding that according to a villain, he’s the hero of his story.
Protagonist Carl Kane is a decent mix of brooding, effective, empathetic, troubled, and humoristic – ideal for the role of homicide cop who’s seen a lot and has reached that odd point where personal and professional emotions cannot help but overlap. He is also, at times, quite an ass (for instance, to his partner who doesn’t seem affected in the least). But I really think that impression is more a result of Reinhard not depicting their relationship as strongly as it seems to be forged, and less of Kane actually being an obnoxious twerp.
The one thing that really strikes you about the book (in both, a bad and good way) is that everything – literally everything – is described action by action. Think, “I walked to the coffee machine. I pressed the button. I heard it whir. I put a paper cup under the spout. I waited.”
Okay, so maybe it’s not that blunt, but that description isn’t too far off either. While many of these overly-descriptive points do have an effect somewhere, others often don’t. So a lot of it, in my opinion, could’ve been left out. But where the book really let me down (effectively bringing its rating to a 3.5 instead of a 4) was the ending.
It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. But it doesn’t end well. A lot of things get explained, but a whole lot more remain open – things that are touched upon earlier in the book. And you’re left wondering, “But what about this? And did they find out anything about that? Are they just not telling me? Why?!”
And that is why the book ends without seeming to be properly rounded-off. Still, it does manage to make you turn the pages relentlessly, make you cringe at the extent of evil that can exist, and even make you feel really bad for some of the people involved. The characters are quite well done and the story is a good one, making Malevolent – overall – a very interesting read. I’d definitely read more of Reinhard’s work and would recommend it to everyone who’s interested in a short, quick read, doesn’t mind a bit of gore, loves crime fiction and crime thrillers, and/or is interested in criminal psychology.
Read Reinhard’s work and want to share your thoughts? Drop a word in the comments below… we’d love to hear your take!