That’s the only memory he carries from a childhood he does not remember. And now it is all he knows. Blood is his life.
Knox Bishop has done a lot of horrible things, all at the command of the man who holds his leash. It’s a matter of loyalty for him. Allegiance to the man who saved his life when he was a child. So he goes where he is needed and does what he is told. He tortures. He kills. He kills. He tortures. It is an unrelenting cycle that he constantly craves and can never quite satisfy.
Eighteen year old Lacey Barnes distributes her assets to fund her dreams. Medical school is the end game and she is determined to get there by any means necessary. But a family member’s careless mistake derails her plans and now she must pay a price in order to save him.
She goes to Knox willingly offering him the only valuable thing she has. Herself. In doing so he allows her into his world, a world filled with darkness but rather than being scared it intrigues her. It lures her, calls to something in her that she hadn’t known existed until he awakened it.
Every bit of his flaws is reflected in her and Knox will do anything to keep her in the darkness with him.
I’m not what you would call normal. The word has no meaning to me. But I’ve been pretending to act normal. It’s something I’ve been practicing since I’ve been aware of the thrum and its significance in my life. I was seven when I first heard the lullaby. Second grade, just before recess. It happened in a squall. Nothing and then all at once. I remember everything about that day. The bell rang and the other children went to play. Not me. Never me. I always stayed behind, mostly by choice, but never contested because the other children thought I was weird. I think maybe they unconsciously knew that I was lacking something fundamental. Something they all had and I didn’t, and maybe even never had at all. Whatever it was, I was alienated, excluded from their games. But I couldn’t say it bothered me. I was indifferent to it. Katia would sometimes play with me. Yuri’s youngest daughter, my adoptive sister, kept me company when she wasn’t with her own friends. But she’d been home sick that day.
In the small classroom with its oversized, rainbow-colored letters hanging over the chalkboard and tiled number blocks littering the carpeted floor, I sat in the beanbag chair staring fixatedly at the class pet. Sweet Ms. Devon always stayed with me but she’d left for a moment. A moment to heat her lunch. A moment to speak to a fellow staff member in the teachers’ lounge. But it’d been a moment too long for me. The noise in my head had been too loud. The urge too strong. The pink-eyed little rabbit, Mr. Apples, and the yellow pair of scissors sitting blades down in Ms. Devon’s “Best Teacher” mug had been too much of a temptation for me to resist.
The pounding of my heart. The lullaby and the thrum. The latch had given way beneath my shaking fingers, soaked with apprehension and anticipation. The struggle. The frantic movement of something living, something warm, with the same accelerated heartbeat as mine grappling for life. Desperate for freedom even while knowing the inevitable hand of death loomed was intoxicating. The thrill, the excitement, the sweet seductive power. I swam in it. Like too much candy on Halloween. Too much ice cream in the summer. It had been a quick death for Mr. Apples. It had been crude. Amateurish. But ever so effective in quieting the discord of my mind.
Poor, sweet Ms. Devon came to find me on the floor of the overly-bright classroom. Huddled on the floor, covered in Mr. Apples. She’d been one to smile a lot. But I stole her smile that day and replaced it with horror instead. Her pretty features contorted like a Kabuki mask.
Francette lives in Massachusetts with her amazingly supportive husband of ten years and her darling two year old son. Reading amazing books has led her to writing and she’s dabbled in fan-fiction before self-publishing her own works. She’s constantly thinking up new stories to write and does her best work when music is playing in the background. Romance is where she’s most comfortable but she hopes to one day venture in mystery novels. She has a weakness for coffee ice cream, tropical fruits and a good glass of wine.
Lacey is a high school senior honor student. She comes from the trashiest of backgrounds. Her mother is a crack head/junkie/prostitute. Her brother is a low life user. How someone with so much fire came from such hopelessness is a mystery. In order to live, Lacey is also a prostitute. She has a small clientele of steady johns. Her goal is to save money for medical school, but her family is like a yoke around her neck constantly dragging her down and using her money.
I’m a deer in his headlights. There’s no left or right for me. No up or down. No chance of looking away from the disaster that’s about to happen to me.
Knox works for the Russian mob. He “takes care” of people the boss needs removed. Unlike most hit men, he doesn’t do it for the money or the power—it’s not a job, it’s his passion, his life. Knox is a serial killer that gets to feed his hunger in a way that is useful to his boss. As far back as he can remember, he has never had any connection to another person or any emotion besides the desire to kill. He is indifferent to love, hate, happiness, sadness, fear… The name of this series is The Butcher so just imagine what you will.
He isn’t sane. Not even a little bit. Everything he’s done to me up to this point proves that.
Lacey, yet again trying to save her ungrateful family members, ends up indebted to Knox. There is something about her tenacity that intrigues him. She’s like a puzzle that he needs to work out. How far can he push her before she breaks?
I think it might be a reflection of the sort of person he is on the inside. Beautiful, yet irredeemably evil.
This book is filled with unlikable characters. Lacey’s mother and brother are of course on the list along with several minor assholes at her school. But the biggest bitch of all is Katia. I don’t know when I have hated a book persona this much.
There are so many things I’m not even going into about title. It has some deep twists and turns. There are explanations, connections and surprises. These things need to be learned as you read so that you may get the full emotional blow.
For those looking for a dark read that is truly dark, not sort of, but the real deal, which also has an awesome storyline this is the book for you. Sometimes a book is labeled dark, and it isn’t. This book is dark. Sometimes a dark book takes it too far and becomes a horror story. You end up not caring about the characters. That isn’t the case here. I was totally into this book and the outcomes. I highly recommend it.
5+ flawless black stars