Aleksandr Zorin is a sadistic psychopath responsible for the magnificent and untimely ends of dozens of lives. Exploiting the ineptitude of those who would hunt him, he's remained invisible for years. No one knows he exists. But soon enough, the world shall behold the true extent of his artistry.
FBI profiler Nicholas Keegan has an uncanny ability to descend into the darkest recesses of the most ravaged minds. When a colleague calls for help with an unusual case, Nick is thrust into the hunt for a predator unlike any he's ever faced. And it's one that may well cost him everything that matters.
Imagine a snake and a mongoose, circling each other with vicious, deadly intent. That’s the nub of this battle of wits between a sadistic killer and the FBI investigator hunting for him. If you suffered withdrawal symptoms when the TV series ‘Hannibal’ drew to a close then ‘Chaos’ will get that monkey off your back. The duel of wits between profiler Nick Keegan and serial killer Aleksandr Zorin is every bit as compelling and intense as Will Graham’s ongoing struggle with Lecter himself. Similarly, the web of excruciating deaths which draws Keegan into the investigation is as inventively awful as any of the murders seen on the screen.
But ‘Chaos’ isn’t simply an homage to a genre masterpiece, even though it necessarily echoes the themes and procedures so familiar from ‘Red Dragon’ and SOTL. It’s a white-knuckle page-turner in its own right which introduces a chilling psychopathic killer, a murderer warped and honed by his traumatic upbringing. FBI profiler Nick Keegan is Zorin’s mirror-image; similarly shaped by pivotal events in his formative years, equally dedicated to his cause – perhaps incurring fatal costs to his friends and family.
Author DJ Schuette adroitly balances the nitty-gritty of modern crime investigation – a multi-state, multi-agency hunt for a previously unsuspected unsub – with a non-stop barrelling narrative. The procedural attention to detail feels realistic: the gruesome crime scenes meticulously depicted. The action pauses only to deliver emotional moments of genuine intensity – then a rapid change of direction shatters the reader’s preconceptions and we’re (happily) dragged into the depths of criminal depravity. Schuette seems to take gleeful delight in wilful misdirection and subverting expectations, yet his plotting is consistent and coherent, and his characters have credible depth. By the final killer chapter you understand that almost anything can happen as the central characters spiral towards mutual annihilation.
You rarely find all of these elements in a mainstream thriller from one of the big publishers, and this is unusually accomplished writing for an indie publication. Snap it up, people: this is a top-notch psychological thriller from an author who really delivers. The great news is that a sequel appears to be in the pipeline: can’t wait.
Title – Chaos
Author – D.J. Schuette
Genre – Thriller
Rating 5 stars out of 5 Posted 4/15/17
19 - 2017
Definition of Chaos: Complete disorder and confusion.
My impressions: cruel, sick, sadistic, extreme violence, brilliant, capable psychopath, evil incarnate.
Nicholas Keegan – FBI, forensic criminologist
Aleksandr Zorin – serial killer, diabolical murderer.
Chaos takes place across the USA, but the main action narrows down to the Minneapolis, Minnesota area.
A new computer program created by FBI agent Nicholas Keegan allows information about serious crimes to be cross referenced to detect those that are possibly attributable to a single serial killer. As the number of similar crimes starts to grow, Nicholas is repulsed by the intense pain inflicted by the psychopath killer they have uncovered.
But Nicholas has his own personal issues to deal with; his wife is expecting their first child and resents his job always taking priority. She craves more quality time with him while she fully supports his efforts to stop the diabolical killer. That alone has a major impact on the story’s conclusion.
Nicholas eventually meets Zorin and is intrigued to learn the antagonist knows so much about his personal life.
This is a difficult story to review without giving away the direction the plot takes to its terrific conclusion. I can only say it is one of the best stories I’ve read, if you can stomach the gory descriptions of the horrific crimes perpetrated on the killer’s victims. There are great investigative exchanges and deductions
The editing and sentence structure are excellent as is character development. There are multiple support characters who, of course, are not developed fully because they come and go as needed.
The writing style is powerful and full of conflict and the plot is a fresh look at the typical serial killer novel.
Thorough research is evident in the depth of details revealed in the sadistic murders.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and highly recommend it, but readers who object to detailed, horrific torture that is inflicted to cause slow, painful deaths should chose to pass on these vivid portrayals.