Cut to the Bone
I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Cut to the Bone by Shane Gericke.
Sometimes you open a book and expect one thing, and find yourself reading something else. Now that can be a bad thing, like if your cookbook would rather be a romantic comedy minus the measurements or if the young adult fantasy you’re reading to your kids suddenly hits puberty. Awkward!
But it can also be a very good thing. When I picked up Cut to the Bone, all I knew was that there was a serial killer in Naperville, Illinois, and detective Emily Thompson was on the case. Pretty standard. I soon learned that Emily was a big step from the either cutesy bumbling gal crime fighter, or the hardboiled superwomen we so often see in these kind of books. Emily is over 40, and acts sort of like a normal person. She has a sex life! And no superpowers! Having a grown-up heroine is a little revolutionary, and I thank Shane Gericke for her.
What also sets this thriller apart from the herd is the voice of the newspaper man that wrote it. He decided that capitol punishment and how we use it, abuse it, hide our eyes from it and think about it or not was going to be the underlying theme here. So he found out everything he could about the chair, and then embroidered the story of the serial killer ‘The Executioner,’ capital e, and the state executioner, small e, around what he had learned. Of course he has an opinion on the death penalty but he gives his characters the opportunity to have their own opinions, so while I learned a lot about the business of killing the convicted, I never felt preached at or lectured.
Moving back and forth in time and between convictions of yes and no, Cut to the Bone was a surprisingly thoughtful read.