This book really frustrated me. I felt like author Dani Amore, had a potentially great idea, but then poorly executed it.
Amore's novel, The Killing League centers around a mysterious figure named, The Commissioner, who has invited a group of serial killers to participate in a killing game that he has named The Killing League. The story alternates between the Killing League's members and two characters that are the ultimate targets, Mack, former FBI Agent and Nicole, a woman who narrowly escaped after a flubbed serial killer attempt and has been trying to rebuild her life in Los Angeles.
There were several things that drove me nuts about this book.
First the structure. It's incredibly formulaic. The book goes through every character and then circles back around. We hear how each member of The Killing League kills their victims in each round of the game. The kills are unique to the individual (like the nurse who kills her victims with an injection), however none of the kills are very unique overall. It's pretty straight forward and quite dull. The formula then goes back to Mack and Nicole, who each get those alternating chapters, whether or not the info conveyed in the chapters adds much to the story. It's filler.
Thank goodness it was a short read, because the pacing is incredibly sluggish, especially the last half.
The characters are flat. The serial killers might as well melt into one person. They are all stereotypes and lack real motives or depth. Mack and Nicole were particularly uninteresting. I was rooting for them to die the entire story.
It's like the characters are from a comic book, with the villains and heroes existing in a black and white world.
The worst part of the story was the lack of conflict. None of the killers seem to have a big problem with receiving a mysterious invitation from a person who knows about their kills. They all show up at a hotel for a conference to receive their instructions for the league. There is zero conflict. Mack seems to solve crimes with ease. There is never a good explanation of how betting on the KL is allowed in Vegas. This story has too many convenient explanations and holes.
What really bothered me the most was the missed opportunity. I like the idea of a game with a group of serial killers. It made me think of stories like Ten Little Indians, Clue and Rat Race, but with killers. I love the competition aspect and the mysterious commissioner. I wanted to get into the minds of the killers and to have the story be truly twisted and creepy. I think that Nicole and Mack should have been eliminated as primary characters. They shouldn't be the story. The story should have been about the Killing League itself and should reduce Mack and Nicole to minor characters.
Although it had gruesome parts, it was definitely rated PG. It's a beach read. I wanted it to be full on sick and twisted, like a Saw or Hostel movie. I wanted the commissioner to have a more valid and compelling motive for creating the league and I wanted see more of its origins. I wanted the killers to struggle and get creative.
This story could have been so much more entertaining.