Angel’s Adjectives: terrifying and twisty
A Bram Stoker Award nominee, Greg Lamberson is making his mark as one of horror’s new forces. This is his second novel and the first in the Jake Hellman series (of which the second book is also out). It introduces coke-snorting police detective Jake Helman, a man whose life goes from Not Too Bad at the beginning to Complete and Utter Shit by the end of the book. At every turn, Lamberson turns the thumb screws on his poor protagonist. It’s like watching a horrid car wreck, in slow motion, with the volume on high and splatter effects turned up to the max.
The way Jake Helman’s life falls apart is terrifying to watch. You get the impression early on that he doesn’t always make the best decisions, and then–blammo!–he’s knocked for a major loop. At first, it’s hard to feel too sorry for him, because he’s brought it all down on himself, but as the book progresses, and as Jake learns his lessons, he becomes more and more sympathetic. Unfortunately for him, his circumstances grow increasingly more precarious at the same time.
Lamberson did a great job of gradually building the tension in this book, using plot twists to keep ramping up the stakes. I said, “Holy shit!” several times as I was reading it, whenever something unexpectedly took a turn for the worse. By the end, as Jake made his bid to overcome odds that were way over his head, I was biting my nails. I won’t tell you the ending, but I will say that Jake was not a “winner” in this struggle. He was, however, a survivor.
If you don’t mind horror with lots of gory descriptions, heads exploding, and bodily fluids, then you’ll enjoy this book. Part of the joy of reading it is to discover just how bad Jake’s life can get. Believe me, it can and did get worse. I’m looking forward to reading Desperate Souls, the next in the Jake Helman Files. My morbid curiosity just won’t let me look away.
Description from Amazon.com:
Jake Helman, an elite member of the New York Special Homicide Task Force, faces what every cop dreads—an elusive serial killer. While investigating a series of bloodletting sacrifice rituals executed by an ominous perpetrator known as the Cipher, Jake refuses to submit to a drug test and resigns from the police department. While battling a cocaine addiction, Jake starts a high-pressure position as the director of security at Tower International, a controversial genetic-engineering company. Beneath the polished exterior of the corporate identity and the CEO—who has a reputation as the frontiersman on the cutting edge of science—is a deranged mind. As Jake delves deeper into this frightening laboratory, he discovers much more than unethical practices performed in the name of human progress. Sequestered in rooms veiled in secrecy is the worst crime the world will ever see—the theft of the human soul. Horrifying and gruesome, this is a gripping, suspense-filled novel that offers intense arguments about science, ethics, and human life.