Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle knows what he’s talking about, having descended deep down into a strange and murky world 28 long years ago. When he was still a young officer Castle was involved in the hunt for the “Woodlands Killer,” so named because of the location the horribly mutilated victims were found.
Though Castle was convinced the killer was a man named Karl Black, not only could Castle not gather enough evidence to have Black arrested, but Black was able to play mind games with Castle that had devastating consequences. Determined to prove Black was the killer, Castle spiraled into an obsession that cost him his marriage, a great deal of respect among his colleagues, and very nearly his sanity.
The “Woodlands Killer” was never caught.
Now, 28 years later, a new series of killings are occurring that mimic those from long ago. His colleagues think it the work of a copycat, but Castle isn’t so sure. Especially not with Karl Black still in the area, now running a sinister cult and every bit as willing to jump back into playing mind games with Castle. This time, however, Castle isn’t alone in his pursuit of Black. His young partner, DI Jackie Stone, is ready and willing to help Castle tackle the case. But as Castle sees Stone starting to fall into the same pattern of obsession and self-destruction he went through Castle is forced to make a tough choice: pursue Black at all costs, or save Stone – and himself – from a descent into the depths of madness?
In his debut full-length work author Richard Godwin has taken the best aspects of horror, police procedurals, and thrillers and deftly stitched them together into a riveting exploration of the path of destruction, both physical and psychological, that occurs when two police officers are willing to risk everything to go up against a sadistic, ritualistic killer bent on carrying out his twisted obsession.
The prose flows beautifully and seamlessly, which makes it all the more startling when an episode of violence rips into the narrative. And do be warned, the body count is high – as Castle notes at one point, “If this guy keeps up at this rate, there’ll be no hookers left.” – and the murders are described in graphic detail. Far from being gratuitous, however, Godwin employs the brutality of the crimes to remind the reader of what’s at stake and what Castle and Stone are up against, both in terms of saving potential victims as well as their own sanity.
But as Castle and Stone spiral ever deeper into the case and their obsession with Black they are forced to confront details that don’t quite add up and to ask themselves, are they really after the right man? Gripping from start to finish, and with an ending I guarantee you won’t see coming, Apostle Rising is a seriously intense and creepy piece of work.
Apostle Rising is available from Black Jackal Books (ISBN: 978-0956711304).