Jun. 4, 2019

5 star review on Amazon for Terminated 1- the making of a serial killer

From the Slums to the Falklands war

 

June 2, 2019

The subtitle is "The Making of a Serial Killer". After reading my share of thrillers and serial killer books as well as watching TV shows like "Criminal Minds" and "Dexter", I had an expectation of a story about the development of a psychopath, or at least a sociopath. I presupposed it would entail descriptions of a boy (of course) that starts out nasty and progressively gets more heinous with age. Not so in Terminated I.

Alex is raised in very poor conditions and overcomes it all with intelligence and grace, even humility. He is very empathetic toward his fellow humans, in fact. Not my idea of what makes a psychopathic serial killer. However, the title doesn't say, "The Making of a Psychopathic Serial Killer" now does it? The first scene, in which Alex is 10-years-old, he witnesses older boys cause the deaths of two innocent bystanders. He was acting as a lookout as they committed a robbery. His reaction was that of any genuinely decent person when he was horrified. He made the decision not to notify the authorities or get help, which was plain self-preservation and would have been useless anyway. He was definitely hanging out with the wrong crowd for which he suffers some consequences.

Alex's ability to adapt to his environment and to get along with people in different walks of life, indicate his intelligence as much as how well he does in school and military training. However, he can't completely overcome his upbringing when dealing with his marriage. He doesn't beat his wife, as was common in his neighborhood, but he selfishly neglects his family as he betters himself. I think some of his behavior can be justified by the untimely bursting of his condom resulting in a forced marriage and an unwanted "bairn" when he was very young. If they'd had better birth control, if an abortion had been possible, if he hadn't gotten married so young.....everyone experiences these forks in the road where things take an unexpected turn that shapes their futures for better or worse.

Interwoven with Alex's perspective are the memories of his wife as she lies on her deathbed. She's hooked up to life support after suffering a stroke. This gives the reader more empathy for what she went through and more insight into Alex from another point of view. I don't know if I quite believe that doctors would conclude she's "brain dead" with all that activity going on inside her head, but it's a scary scenario and a creative vehicle for the story. Would you want to be unplugged? I still say, yes!

The rampant corruption in the business world as well as politics is well laid out and reads like a true story, although the author assures us it is all fictional. This book doesn't allow a fictional possibility for what is happening in real life -- a corrupt businessman taking over leadership of a major country, thereby melding political turpitude with business corruption. Real life is even more horrifying than fiction these days!

I am old enough to remember when Margaret Thatcher took Britain to war in the Falklands. Reading this book provides deeper insight (especially for an American) into the why and whatfor of those events. At the conclusion of book 1 there is a section of historical facts and definitions that lend more depth to the events of that era.

I have learned that my preconceived notions of what to expect from this author are generally surpassed by each of his yarns. I highly recommend this book as I look forward to finding out where the second book will take Alex.