The job of a sports league’s commissioner, while not easy, is relatively straightforward. Generally speaking, they oversee the teams and competition, deal with administrative details and rules governing league play, and generally seek to ensure the health and success of their league. The commissioner in author Dani Amore’s newest book is no different. Well, except that he’s not in charge of the NBA, NFL or some other league you’re familiar with; no, he’s commissioner of The Killing League.
Like any other professional sports league, The Commissioner has recruited only the best of the best to participate. It just so happens that all the players in The Killing League are active serial killers, and The Commissioner has devised a single elimination style tournament for them to test their skills. Each person will be assigned a specific target to kill per round of play, with the targets’ level of difficulty increasing the deeper into the tournament the players get. If you don’t get your target – or they get you – you’re eliminated.
And so, players with monikers like Blue Blood, The Messiah, Florence Nightmare, and The Butcher, among others, are turned loose across the country, each determined to win the grand prize: a shot at renowned FBI profiler Wallace Mack, and a woman named Nicole, who escaped from and killed the serial killer who abducted her three years ago. Of course, Mack didn’t get to be renowned based on his good looks, and Nicole has dedicated her life to two things since her ordeal: becoming a chef and martial arts. Mack quickly realizes what’s going on, and the only place Nicole’s better with a knife than in the kitchen is in the dojo. Game on.
Following a prologue flashback to Nicole’s escape, author Dani Amore sets the stage for The Killing League by introducing the readers to each player individually in a series of quick cut chapters before bringing them all together for the big event. And though having multiple killers in a single book could have been distracting or caused reader overload if handled wrong, Amore gives each of them enough of a distinct flair, and killing spree, to justify their presence in the story.
Speaking of killing, while you may think in a culture that gives us films like Saw and Hostel it’d be difficult to come up with inventive new ways for serial killers to get the job done, the immensely talented – or disturbed, same-same in this case – Dani Amore has a creative cross-section of murder and mayhem cued up in The Killing League, including one particularly nasty episode that actually made me cringe. Considering some of the things I read, that’s saying something. Well done, Dani!
Having previously demonstrated that she could adeptly write both comedic crime fiction (Death by Sarcasm) and a serious P.I. novel (Dead Wood), with The Killing League Amore takes the traditional serial killer genre, adds a healthy dose of thriller, and shows yet again why she’s one of the brightest rising stars in crime fiction. Screw fantasy football and baseball leagues, The Killing League is the one you want to be playing… ok, reading.
The Killing League is available at Amazon.