Detective Chief Inspector Prosper Snow is in charge of an investigation into a serial killer called The Oracle who turns his victims into macabre works of art. But Prosper harbours a dark secret of his own. He and his old school friends were members of a group called The Kult who made a pact to dish out their own form of vengeance on bullies. Now a member of the group puts their friendship to the test when he makes a far darker request: that they murder someone that raped his wife.
To get away with murder, the friends decide to blame it on The Oracle, but events take a chilling turn when the instigator turns up dead, his body fashioned into a disturbing work of art. Now, one by one, the members of The Kult are being hunted down.
Just when Prosper thinks things can’t get any worse, his wife is kidnapped and he knows that if he goes to his colleagues for help, he risks his dark deeds being unearthed. If he doesn’t, he risks losing all that he holds dear.
When I was in my teens and early twenties I read a lot of thrillers about serial killers but in recent years I’ve found myself drawn to them less and less. When I read the synopsis for The Kult though I was intrigued, I liked the sound of a group of childhood friends coming back together as adults, so I thought I would give it a go.
The book starts by introducing The Oracle and giving the reader an insight into him and what he does. I found parts of this a little grizzly, but kept reading and was pretty quickly hooked. It then introduces Prosper, first as an policeman investigating The Oracle, but then as a member of The Kult – a club he and his friends set up as teenagers to right the wrongs they suffered. The other members want to carry out one more act but for Prosper it’s not an easy decision any more, he’s responsible for upholding the law but their plan will break it a few times over.
The decision to carry out their plan and frame The Oracle for it seems as sound as any plan to get away with murder does, but as is to be expected things don’t go to plan and the book quickly spirals into a tense thriller. The reader certainly gets the sense that time is at a premium for the characters, it’s not at all clear who is going to survive by the end of the book.
Prosper is an interesting character, he’s certainly drawn in all shades of grey. I found myself wondering at times what I was actually hoping for by the end of the book. I didn’t want for The Oracle to kill The Kult but I wasn’t entirely sure they deserved to get away with their crime either. I found this added to my enjoyment of the book, the sense of unease I had about the activities in the book meant that I became more involved with what I was reading.
In general this was a good read and I found myself eager to get back to it when I had to put it down. It is pretty grizzly in places, I don’t think I could recommend this to anyone who’s a little squeamish. I’m not sure it’s entirely reignited my taste for the genre, but I do think I’ll probably find myself reading more in it again.
The Kult has been filmed by independent film company Gharial Productions, the trailer can be seen here.
The Kult is published in eBook by Deshca Press in the UK priced £0.86. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.