Cain’s Blood by Geoffrey Girard

When clones of infamous serial killers escape from a secret government facility, it’s up 16130318to a former Army Ranger to stop them…with the help of a teenage killer clone.

The DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers—including Ted Bundy, The Son of Sam, and The Boston Strangler—has been cloned by the US Department of Defense to develop a new breed of bioweapon. Now in Phase Three, the program includes dozens of young men who have no clue as to their evil heritage. Playing a twisted game of nature vs. nurture, scientists raise some of the clones with loving families and others in abusive circumstances. But everything changes when the most dangerous boys are set free by their creator.

A man with demons of his own, former black ops soldier Shawn Castillo is hot on their trail. But Castillo didn’t count on the quiet young man he finds hiding in an abandoned house – a boy who has just learned he is the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer. As Jeffrey and Castillo race across the country on the trail of the rampaging teens, Castillo must protect the boy who is the embodiment of his biggest fears and who may also be his last hope. Melding all-too-plausible science and ripped from- the-headlines horror, Cain’s Blood is a stunning debut about the potential for good and evil in us all.

Cain’s Blood is dark, intense, and gory at times – if none of that bothers you, then you’re in for a gripping and riveting read.

When I first read this book description, it completely blew me away – a deeply disturbing, but profound concept, cloning serial killers and using them as weapons.  The government also experiments on numerous clones, altering their environments, and the concept of nature vs. nurture figures prominently in this story, along with genetic predisposition.

Castillo is wonderfully complex and flawed as the protagonist and throughout the book, he is torn between his instincts of protecting and helping the teenaged Jeffrey, while at the same time fearing him.  The dialogue and interactions between the other teenage serial killers is both horrific and compelling and it’s obvious the author did extensive research for this novel.  The scientific aspects fascinated me – anything involving genetic engineering grabs me.

Girard has also written a YA companion novel, Project Cain, I’m looking forward to reading.  It focuses more on Jeffrey, and I found his character and circumstances to be fascinating and engaging.  Cain’s Blood is heavy and gritty, and some readers may need to take a break while reading it, but easily one of the best thrillers I’ve read in quite a while.

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