Notorious serial killer Obadiah Stark is on death row at maximum security prison Absolom ADX located on one of The Blasket Islands off the coast of Ireland. Joe O’Connell, reporter for The Daily Eire is covering the execution, where relatives of Stark’s victim’s watch him die. However, after the execution during routine fact checking Joe finds discrepancies that he cannot explain leading him down an investigative path he can scarcely believe. In the meantime Stark ends up living the same day over and over again with a wife and daughter, why and who is responsible?
An original and unusual serial killer read that begins the story at the execution of our killer and asks a lot of standard but evocative questions about capital punishment. What was engaging about this read were the questions that were posed about morality and justice, which I found quite a refreshing angle on the serial killer genre.
This story is told alternately from the point of view of Stark and reporter, O’Connell, but interspersed between the story from the point of view of these two characters is the technical but temporally relevant, Franklin Report, written by forensic psychologist Dr John Franklin, which provides the details of his crimes and witness statements as well as quotes from Stark himself about his multiple murders. I found the Franklin Report, a little dull to read, but I concede it was important for them to appear as realistic notes from sessions with Stark and his psychologist. However, I did find the continuation of the reports slowed the pace of the book.
For a thought provoking, original serial killer thriller you could do no better than Hellbound, which due to its social commentary reads more like literary thriller than a bog standard serial killer read of which we have mass market paperback saturation. Maybe the way forward in this topic of fiction is looking beyond the apprehension and processing of serial killers and testing the perceived limitations of sociopaths what makes them.