Kill the Next One by Federico Axat
Mulholland Books: 12/13/16
eBook review copy; 416 pages
Kill the Next One by Federico Axat is a highly recommended psychological thriller.
In the opening Ted
McKay is in his study, planning to kill himself, when the doorbell
rings. Whoever is there is very persistent, so Ted opens the door and
meets Justin Lynch. Lynch offers him a bizarre proposal: if Ted will
kill two men, one criminal who deserves to die and one man who has
terminal cancer and wants to die, then Ted will become the next target
and spare his family the shame of his suicide. Ted, who has been
diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, accepts the proposition and kills
the two men.
Only the men aren't quite who Lynch said they were. And Ted isn't quite
what he seems to be. Then Ted's reality/story resets itself and changes.
Nothing in the opening is quite what it seems and Ted may be
hallucinating. His therapist, Laura Hill, is trying to help him through
his crisis. What is reality and what is the truth? What do Ted's dreams
mean? And why is Ted being admitted to the psychiatric unit at Lavender
Honestly, I was ready to set Kill the Next One aside after the
first two parts (at 30% of the novel) because the premise seems so
absurd and there were so many holes in the story - but then I started
the third part
and was immediately hooked. After this point the novel dramatically
changes so, first things first: you have to get through the first two
parts of this four part novel for events to suddenly start to get
extremely intriguing and the plot takes a twist. Is Ted sane? You will
know that he might not be a reliable narrator from the first two parts.
You are going to have an inkling that what you think is true might not
be reality. It is also at this point that a mystery takes hold of the
narrative as you try to untangle the facts.
Translated from the original Spanish by David Frye, the writing is quite
good. This is one of those psychological thrillers/mysteries that you
can't say too much about or you are going to give away parts. In the
end, know that reading the first two parts is essential to understand
all the twisty bits that follow.
Warning: There is one horrific scene of animal torture toward the end
that you can just skip right over, but the presence of it might be way
too much for some readers.
My advanced reading copy was courtesy
of the publisher/author.