Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Killer Thriller Pick: Project Cain

Project Cain
by Geoffrey Girard
Simon & Schuster
352 pages
ISBN: 9781442476967

Terrifying, taut, terrific, tragic, and tremendous! Project Cain is a tour de force that grabs you up and won't let you go until you turn the last chilling page. Even then, you are destined to think about the premise of cloned serial killers and secret government genetic testing.

Fifteen  year old Jeff Jacobson's life goes from "normal" to nightmare in minutes. His whole life has been a lie. Not only is he NOT Jeff Jacobson, he is a clone of famous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Jeff's "father," a scientist and famed geneticist has raised hundreds of clones of famous serial killers for the government. Now, his father is hell bent on releasing the clones into the public and witnessing their killing spree. His father deserts Jeff and leaves behind a folder explaining Jeff's existence. He warns Jeff to stay away from his company and the government.

Jeff hides out at home and barely escapes government agent types who break in and take his dad's papers and computers. Later, Jeff hides from another killer, but Castillo finds him and takes him away. Castillo isn't the government and he isn't a good guy, but he's not a bad guy either.

Jeff learns just how dangerous the government can be from Castillo. The U.S. government has always done secret testing on various unknowing populations. The government admits to more than 100 illegal genetic tests and biological weapons studies. Military scientists have released toxins in the subways of New York just to see how many people would get sick. Jeff learns the U.S. did secret drug tests with LSD and other psychotic drugs just to see how people would act. Now, the government wants to clone the clones and use them in warfare as the perfect killing machines.

Jeff also learns that Castillo is an ex-soldier who spent time in Afghanistan, and now works as a "contractor" of sorts. Castillo is hunting for the escaped clones and he needs Jeff's help to find them.

As Jeff's grasp on sanity begins to weaken,  he has terrible nightmares...or are they really memories? Surely being the exact replica of a monster named Jeffrey Dahmer comes with some shared likenesses. Jeff starts seeing things that aren't really there, but at least he knows he's seeing things. When will Jeff become a killer? When will he lose his humanity?

Trying to decipher his father's secret code, Jeff realizes a chilling fact: his father expected him to solve the puzzle all along. Is that why he used things that Jeff would remember? Is his father testing him or toying with him? Castillo and Jeff  plan a trap for the killing clones. They travel the Murder Map together coming closer and closer to evil. The two "men" share more than they care to admit. Both are broken and bruised, but both are willing to die righting the wrongs of Jeff's father, whatever it takes.

This is a must read for horror and thriller fans. Project Cain is riveting and terrifying; brilliant storytelling and an adrenaline fueled plot will force teen (and adult) readers to burn the midnight oil to finish this one!

Highly, highly recommended grade 9-up. Mature situations, violence, language. Not for middle school.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at

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