Killers by Shaun Jeffrey

Killers by Shaun JeffreyHe hoped he was still on the righteous side, but in all honesty, he couldn’t be certain anymore. – Prosper Snow

That Prosper Snow would have such self doubt is perfectly understandable. After all, as an officer sworn to uphold the law it would naturally cause internal conflict to find yourself breaking it in the most extreme manner possible – murder.

Yet that’s precisely where Snow found himself in The Kult, the first book from author Shaun Jeffrey which featured the character. When Snow and his group of friends became the target of a serial killer after trying to frame him for a murder they committed – not the most brilliant idea in retrospect – it was all Snow could do just to save his life. That he was able to massage the facts in such a way as to cover up his involvement and keep his job was a bonus.

Except now there is a new string of horrific killings occurring on Snow’s patch. And this time not only is he unable to take charge of the investigation, but the leader of the under the radar government agency that takes over the case implies he knows about Snow’s past criminal activities. He uses that knowledge to force Snow to join their team, and that’s when things go from bad to bizarre.

Turns out the shadow agency has special reason to be interested in the string of killings. Much to Snow’s horror, he is informed that the group has been conducting psychological experiments trying to determine whether a person can be made into an über efficient, remorseless killing machine… and one of their test subjects has escaped.

Killers represents a huge step forward for Shaun Jeffrey as an author. Though I have previously read and enjoyed three of Jeffrey’s novels, there is a new layer of complexity to his writing present in Killers, both in the plotting as well as the character development. Jeffrey clearly did substantial research on some of the more notorious historical psychological studies/experiments, and his incorporation of that information adds an aspect of verisimilitude to the story that keeps it grounded in a horrifyingly realistic way.

Similarly, Jeffrey has given Snow a deeper sense of self. The fallout from the events of The Kult casts a large shadow over Killers, causing Snow to continually question exactly how far he’s capable of going in order to accomplish what he believes needs to be done. Whereas in the past he may have thought there was a clear cut difference between “right” and “wrong,” Snow now understands that sometimes doing the right thing requires doing the wrong thing first. It’s not an understanding he takes lightly, and it’s satisfying to see the character grow in such a meaningful way.

It was always clear that Jeffrey was a writer who knew how to entertain readers, but with Killers he shows that he’s ready to next the next step and challenge them as well.

Killers is available at Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. While it’s not necessary to have read The Kult before diving in here, having done so would certainly make an already great reading experience even better.

Shaun Jeffrey is the author of over 40 published short stories, one collection entitled Voyeurs of Death, and five novels including Evilution, The Kult, Deadfall, and Dead Man’s Eye. The Kult has been optioned for film and shooting began in September 2010. Having grown up in a house located in a cemetery, it’s easy to understand Shaun’s fascination with the dark and disturbing. To learn more about Shaun, visit his website.
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