Wright avoids sensationalism when detailing the crimes of Eddie’s victims and Eddie’s own troubled past. The accounts of his murder spree share some gory specifics, but in general, Wright leaves much to the imagination. Despite the slim action and sparse descriptions, there is something almost cinematic in this telling, a power that will keep readers fixated on the story and the gaps Eddie intentionally side steps. Leif’s nightmares are especially effective because they offer sensory details lacking in most other scenes. The comparisons that Leif makes to capture Eddie’s allure (Hitler and Dracula, notably) telegraph his disturbing appeal alongside his disarming friendliness and insistent, rigid moral code. Eddie’s religious justifications (he claims he’s never hurt a human being, only “demons”), receive just enough content to be understood without overwhelming the other elements.
Psychological thriller fans will be caught up from the beginning. Particularly arresting is the use of trial notes to flesh out facts and explain surprising actions, as well as the possibilities of Eddie’s background, including the possibility of sexual abuse victimhood. The final day of interviews takes a surreal, chilling turn, and though the finale veers into conspiracy-theory territory, the buildup makes it all seem surprisingly plausible. Fans of dissecting crime will enjoy unwrapping this descent into a deluded man’s convictions.
Takeaway: This psychological thriller’s uncanny elements and blended formats create a chilling image of a murderer and his deadly appeal.
Great for fans of: Brian Evenson, Joyce Carol Oates’s Zombie.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: A-