Paul Holten’s profession doesn’t leave much room for doubt or conscience but he’s reaching his breaking point. The nightmares are getting worse, the jobs are getting harder to finish and the volatile relationship with his boss, Aaron, is falling apart. Now faced with the possibility of an impending death sentence, Paul makes the fatal decision to run. Drawn into one hellish situation after another, he’s forced to confront his dark past---and wonder if perhaps dying isn’t the better option. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
My Review: Whoa. Whoa whoa whoa. Just whoa.
Right from the start this book is compelling. First off, it has a character who is instantly unlikeable but also really interesting. He’s been trained to do a job—not necessarily of his own volition—and he is good at it. But he isn’t the one who calls the shots. He’s a man who is trained to kill and is not only good at what he does, but has no choice. He’s got nothing to lose as he feels he’s already reached the bottom, but he really has nothing to gain either, since his life is not his own. So you can see where this is going. Someone with no choice but to do what they’re told—to kill who they’re told—will be pretty good at their job.
This book is gripping right from the start, and once it gets going…well, you’d better plan on just reading. I was particularly exhausted one night, thinking I would just read a chapter to relax before going to sleep (cause, ya know, murder is so relaxing), and then two and a half hours later I was wide awake, reading, wondering how long it would take me to finish the second half of the book.
The story is compelling. You feel like you’re cheering for the characters against almost insurmountable odds. There’s a lot going on and a lot at stake and all you can do is just readreadreadreadread with the hopes that it will all be over soon and end how you want it to.
I am being purposely vague. I don’t want to give anything away because this book is a serious trip. If you like gritty, non-stop action, murder and mystery and mayhem and keep-you-gripped-to-the-end-unpredictable-adventure-in-a-crime-novel, this book is for you.
But let’s address the elephant in the room. This book is violent. Like seriously violent. Like Girl with a Dragon Tattoo violent. With children. Yeah. So if even the idea of that makes you want to ralph up your Froot Loops, you should pass on Lights Out. If you can overlook this, then you should certainly give it a try. If you have read any of the Scandinavian wave of crime novels and you’re fine with that level of violence and gore, you should be fine with this. I do not think I can overstate the level of violence. There were several points where I was trying to decide if I could even handle it (but it’s not like I’m some sort of hard core violence person or anything) but once I felt like I was pushed to the edge, it would stop and give me a reprieve. Because of this, however, I do not know if I would read it again.
My rating: 4 stars.