Serial K: Brian Gallagher
Jack the Ripper, Zodiac, Jeffrey Dahmer, Gein and many others just some of the serial killers including the Son of Sam and Charles Manson that have stupefied, mystified and stumped members of law enforcement hoping to stop them before their murder sprees continued. What happens when someone decides that one of these has become his champion and although each murder is creatively crafted, methodically planned out and graphically designed hoping to become the most lethal serial killer ever, you have what author Brian Gallagher created a Serial Killer more deadly than those defined above, more demented than the Zodiac, Ramirez and those that mutilate and decapitate bodies. Someone who has his own sick trademark and provides the victim with his personal engraved or carved into their body parts autograph. A person like this one murders 3 or more people over a period of thirty days and then as this killer does goes quiet hoping to throw off those in charge of the investigation providing a false sense of security for the public. The motivation is psychological gratification and in this killer’s case attention getting. Meet Craig Breedlove the star of our novel whose goal it is to kill, abuse, deface, molest, murder, shoot and mutilate his victims. Getting to know him you will realize that he is compulsive, takes drugs when necessary, uses arson to take out his victims and his parents died a strange death leading readers to wonder if it was at his hand. His life seems as you get to know him devoid of friends, love, childhood memories that are positive and of course he seems like a serious psychopath. At times he even seems to justify his killings as we get to know him after the first victim falls. Coming into large amounts of money after the death of his parents we meet him realizing that he is rich, mentally disturbed and wants to prove that he is more deadly than Jack the Ripper, Mark Goudeau the Baseline Killer and his MO is killing prostitutes because they are an easy mark. Breedlove is sick and when he begins his killing spree he enjoys taunting the police by creating his own headlines, emails to those in charge and enjoys instill fear in the public. The headlines popularize him and his killings get more graphic every time and he takes pleasure in reading the newspapers about himself and thrives on the TV reports enjoying not only the notoriety but in his mind the popularity he is receiving like a famous actor, singer or even television star. Some killers like Breedlove need the attention and when he does not get the press he thinks he deserves and needs he calls the police and even the FBI with a touch of his own brand of sarcasm as he delights in taunting them, leaving them notes on the victim’s heads and riddles that might help them find and capture him. It’s like a sick cat and mouse came and he is deadly. Enter O’Callahan and Pucci the profiler who are tasked with being in charge of this case as it comes to be known as the Ripper Case since he engraves and carves Ripper on the bodies of his victims. Each murder refers to Jack but also to the serial killer who he is emulating in some way. Some murders deviate from the original and others are identical. He thinks he will never get caught and relishes in the power he has over the FBI, the police in many states and the public.
Craig Breedlove takes readers inside his mind, his thinking as we join him on each of his kills and professes that he is equal to if not more deadly than some of the most famous serial killers and the one that I love reading about Jack the Ripper. Ripper killed prostitutes and Breedlove emulated that since calling them, luring them to a secluded spot and then doing his best to kill with several shots or even a knife to the chest. Gacy, Dahmer, Gein, Zodiac and many others are just some of whom he researched and patterned his kills after. FBI Special Agent Ryan O’Callahan heads the investigation along with his ex-wife FBI Profiler Lea Pucci. Together they are an interesting combination where sparks fly, chemistry ignites and yet they are quite polar opposites. Their head supervisor places them on the case with the authority of the FBI director but after so many deaths and the body count is rising they are replaced by a new team and that is where the events changes and things spiral even more out of control. Each kill is in a specific place and each person killed chosen for a reason as the killer advances his plans and decides to take on an accomplice. When Ryan and Lea approach the head of the computer division of a university they are introduced to Richard Parker a computer genius who can hack into anything and who is a Satan worshipping computer hacker. Parker is nerd like but smart and has even unbeknown to the FBI hacked into their emails and now know everything they do but he is one step ahead. Things take an ugly turn as Lea and John find themselves stumped, stymied and wondering why they can’t find anything to connect anything to this killer. At each scene there is no evidence, no DNA but when one prostitute fights back something changes but not enough even though she came forward. Special Agent Link takes over the case and his brash, rude, throws out enough bad language to make you want him to be another victim of the killer. Taunted by the killer who calls him, hacks into his emails and you wonder how this man ever became an agent, even getting rid of his own profiler and thinking he can handle this on his own. ACI Donald Link is pompous, profane and general not considered much by anyone’s standards. Self-absorbed and seriously in need of an attitude adjustment. Danny Jackson and Frank LaPoint along with Mike Brown another profiler are assigned to work with him. As they come to each crime scene Link manages to alienate those in charge, throws his weight around and insults everyone because of his ineptness to solve the case he points it at others. The director gave their immediate superior Butch the go ahead to have them on their own undercover when they are thrown off the case. But, will this bring them any closer. Lea and John spend time getting reacquainted and many scenes deviate from the murders bringing their relationship into the forefront for readers to decide if they will remain together or separate again.
It gets interesting when Parker wants to become the lead killer and learn from Breedlove who explains the precautions that must be taken before the perfect murder is executed. Bags for the bodies, surgical outfits, gloves, knives, the proper gun and the booties which all must be placed in a garbage bag and never thrown them out if have work to do the killer relates. Remember that the tribute is what really counts. Next, of course where to drop the body and he usually tries to place it in the same or nearly the same setting as the killer he is going to emulate and honor.
Watching as Link realizes after all of the taunts, articles, news clips and threats to him that he does not even realize what happens when he and LaPoint decide to check out a setting that might be where the killer will strike you won’t believe the end result and who created the end result. Richard Parker and his two friends thought they were going to become immortal and famous like Breedlove. When he asks to commit the next kill on his own with the help of his two friends who know how to create cell phone bombs and firebombs and more, the end result leads the profiler, Lea to wondering if he was not a patsy and left to take the blame with his friends or worse. Is Parker the Ripper? Are his friends the Ripper? The ending is really right out of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents or The Twilight Zone, as author Brian Gallagher has created a killer that is equal to the Ripper and maybe worse. Will the catch him? Will he elude them as others have in the past? Only author Brian Gallagher knows that for sure and we readers anxiously await the answer when he pens sequel.
Characters that are ripped right out of the headlines. A killer so sick and diabolical you wonder what really makes his mind tick. Two FBI agents one agent one profiler in the dark many times yet one sees the light at the end but will the rest? Watch out for the ending and make sure that you are in a safe and quiet place and all those prostitutes out there beware of SERIAL K: you never know where he will strike next?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine