Toronto Book Review

24

NEXT OF KIN BY ELTON SKELTER

Kelter introduces a chilling thriller set against the backdrop of New York City, delving into the unsettling world of a homosexual serial killer.

Meet Jacob Mallory, a seemingly unassuming graphic designer in his early thirties. However, beneath his mild facade lies a sinister urge that drives him to commit gruesome acts, like wielding a cheese knife in a Tribeca eatery. Despite his penchant for violence, Jacob is meticulous in evading detection, ensuring his status as an unidentified serial killer. His carefully constructed world is shaken when he receives an unexpected summons to Bellevue Hospital. The caller? Nathan McGuire, a young man recovering from a suicide attempt, is inexplicably in possession of Jacob’s business card.

Jacob’s initial intention to dispatch Nathan swiftly evolves as he finds himself drawn to the troubled young man. In a twist of fate, Jacob begins to develop feelings for Nathan, perhaps even love. However, their burgeoning relationship takes a dark turn when Nathan’s true identity and ulterior motives come to light.

Skelter’s narrative unfolds at a rapid pace, pulsating with elements of desire, brutality, and unforeseen plot developments. While some aspects of Jacob’s internal turmoil echo familiar tropes of serial killer narratives, the story distinguishes itself through nuanced characterizations and unexpected moments of humanity. Skelter adeptly builds suspense around the evolving dynamic between Jacob and Nathan, leaving readers to ponder the ultimate fate of their unconventional bond.

At its core, the novel is a compelling exploration of the intersection between violence and intimacy, offering a thought-provoking examination of the human psyche and the universal longing for connection.

A gripping tale of murder entwined with the complexities of unexpected affection, Kelter’s narrative captivates from start to finish.

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