Review: ‘Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (for Hire!)’ by Mark Sheldon

sarahkillian (1)Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (for Hire!) by Mark Sheldon
Crystal Lake Publishing (July 2016)
216 pages; $13.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I want to love every book I read, I really do. Regrettably, it’s just not possible. There are times when you pick up a title that grabs your interest, but doesn’t quite live up to your expectations. Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (for Hire!) is such a tome.

Here’s the synopsis from the book’s Amazon page…

Sarah Killian is not your average thirty-year-old single woman. Foul-mouthed, mean-spirited, and a text-book-case loner. Also, she is a Professional Serial Killer. Sarah works for T.H.E.M. (Trusted Hierarchy of Everyday Murderers), a secret organization of murderers for hire headed up by the mysterious Zeke. But a wrench is thrown into the clockwork of Sarah’s comfortable lifestyle when, on her latest assignment, she is forced to take on an apprentice, Bethany—a bubbly, perky, blonde with a severe case of verbal-vomit. In short, Bethany is everything Sarah is not. Will Sarah be able to adjust and work with her new apprentice, or will she break her contract with T.H.E.M. and murder the buxom bimbo?

I loved the idea of a foul-mouthed, mean-spirited, loner being forced to train a bubbly, perky, blonde. There was some genuine tension there, but it wasn’t enough to overcome my disappointment with some key elements of the story.

T.H.E.M. (Trusted Hierarchy of Everyday Murderers) recruits actual serial killers and uses them to fulfill client requests. In doing so, the serial killers are authorized to not only kill the target, but to eliminate innocents, as necessary, in order to create the illusion of a serial killer being responsible.

There were a couple of twists, but they seemed a bit forced.  And then there was the one thing that bothered me more than any other: the lead character would substitute the word “porcupine” for “God” over and over again. Things like, “For porcupine’s sake,” or “porcupine-forsaken.” Her reasons for doing so are never explained. I assume she didn’t like God and that’s okay—after all, she’s a serial killer; but keeping those idioms and replacing “God” with “porcupine” drove me to distraction.

There were some very imaginative bits, including some clever word play with acronyms which I can’t share and keep this review to a PG rating.

Unfortunately, although there is nothing in the story that couldn’t happen, I found the overall narrative to be less than believable.

Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (for Hire!) is not great literature, but it’s not meant to be.  For me it’s just an okay story.

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