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lack of conscience

Review: Project Lachesis By Nita DeBorde

23000904And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten [many] of the people with a great slaughter. – Samuel 6:19

(Those Christians really know all about smiting, don’t they?)

It began as a dark, fast moving fog bank moving in from the south and pouring over the Galveston Island seawall. Relentlessly working its way across the world, by the time it dissipates a week later, over 90% of the world’s population is dead. Is it the wrath of god, wiping its disappointment from its eyes? The Mother, cleansing the plague of all-destroying humans from her skin? Maybe it is aliens, clearing the fields before a new crop can be planted, a crop which won’t rape and pillage the land and its creatures. Or maybe…

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. – J. Robert Oppenheimer

Nah, that’s all right, Dr. Oppenheimer. You can rest quietly in your grave. Because you’ve got nothing on this shiny new toy. For you see, it is really quite odd, isn’t it, that only the politicians and military survived in the US. Well, and the medical personnel. Because you really do need a nurse sometimes.

“… while madness in individuals is relatively rare, it is virtually a prerequisite for a certain sort of political leader.” ― Joyce Carol Oates, The Accursed

There are of course shadows of Stephen King’s The Stand here (I own the ‘Complete and Uncut edition’). As well as The Demon in The Freezer and The Hot Zone. Richard Preston did a great job with those. But while King relies on a supernatural basis for his story, and Preston uses a light hand in his works, Nita DeBorde rips off the bandages, tears off the scabs, and runs full bore into the glaring, painful light of reality. Hitler, Pol Pot, and the American government that chose to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to conducting biological, chemical and radiological experiments on American citizens, is no more than dabbling a toe into the demonic waters of biological and chemical warfare compared to this small group of politicians and military personnel.

From Tuskegee to Project F, the Guatemalan Experiment, MKULTRA and Dr. Robert MacMahan’s 1969 request for funds for synthetic biological agent to which no natural immunity exists, to the 1995 confession by Dr. Garth Nicolson that biological weapons used during the Gulf War were not only manufactured in Houston and Boca Raton, but were tested on Texas Department of Corrections Prisoners (Ha! Take THAT Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan! You can’t do it, but WE CAN! Goooo America!!!) the American government has shown all the moral and ethical solidity of a three-year-old handed an Uzi and set amongst his fellow babes. But this time? The safety is off, the gun is locked and loaded, and the whole world goes down. And you know what?

They aren’t done yet.

I received Project Lachesis from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own, including the thought that I am going to be stalking Nita’s Nook, the author’s website, hoping to be there when she needs a beta reader for her next book. This woman is AMAZING!!!!

About the Author

Nita DeBorde is a published author and professional copyeditor and translator from Houston, TX. Nita taught high school French for fifteen years before leaving education in 2014 to focus on a freelance writing career.

Connect with the Author

• Nita DeBorde’s Website
• Facebook Page
• Follow @ndeborde913 on twitter

Review: The Broken by Shelley Coriell – Highly Recommended

I’ve killed no one. I’ve ordered no one to be killed. These children who come to you with their knives, they’re your children. I didn’t teach them, you did. – Charles Manson

Meet No Sympathy. He’s cold, blunt, uncaring, unfeeling. You aren’t going to like him. A man without a conscience, he appears to be totally emotionless. He’s the person for whom most of our explicit swear words were coined – Ruth Minshull


A wonderful book that will keep you on edge all the way through.
Very Highly Recommended.

In The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris describes it concisely. He lives down in a ribcage in the dry leaves of a heart. For within the serial killer, there is no true heart. Or is it that there is no “soul” – that part of us that discerns right from wrong, love from hate, compassion from brutality? What causes a person to become a serial killer, really?

While my work at UC during my Masters training balanced the ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ controversy, Coriell has done brilliant job writing about the ‘nurture’ philosophy of psychopathy and serial killers. Her research is beautifully done, concise, and realistic as is her character development. The Broken draws you in and leaves you breathless, turning page after page, engrossed in the story, drawing you along into a world of pain and brutality – and yet doing so with such a deft hand that, rather than being stomach churning, it is instead deeply affecting, reaching into your heart and soul and raising questions which will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

Referencing one of my favorite short articles on child abuse and psychopathy, Lylah M. Alphonse1, states: The groundbreaking HBO documentary “Child of Rage” years ago showed how horrific abuse and neglect could leave a child unable to bond with other people, turning them into children “without conscience, who can hurt or even kill without remorse.” In other words: the child becomes a psychopath. Extreme physical and sexual abuse and neglect can certainly cause the detached, calculating demeanor and lack of a sense of conscience shared by the serial killer. For the layman, this is one of the easiest articles on the syndrome to read and understand, and it points out quite elegantly how simple it is to take that small step to becoming a monster. And yet, the conversion of a brutalized child to a serial killer isn’t a given, and in Shelly Coriell’s brilliant The Broken, the brutality suffered by three very different children results in three very different outcomes. Outcomes that are horrifying, sad, and deeply, deeply disturbing.

Katrina Erikson had a rough start. Abandoned by her father, she and her younger brother, Jason are raised by a mentally ill mother. Jason is the child whom the mother obsessively dotes upon while alternately neglecting and torturing Katrina. Jason, who slept in his mother’s bed for much too long, and to unknown consequence, while Katrina is locked away in the attic, to be neither heard nor seen.

At a young age Katrina runs away from home, working herself to exhaustion, attending college, then becoming a well-known broadcast journalist. Her life is running smoothly, she is even able to set aside for long periods the memories of her youth. Until, that is, she is attacked, stabbed twenty-four times, and left for dead on her bedroom floor. And the thing is – she knows who did it. She knows – and yet no one will believe her.

When we first meet Katrina, she is “Kate” a loner who has traveled the back roads on her motorcycle for the last three years, rarely speaking to anyone, running from the butcher who searches for her in order to finish what he has begun. But there is someone else looking for her too . . .

Hayden Reed is looking for Katrina – because Hayden Reed believes. And he believes for a horrific reason. You see, Hayden Reed is an FBI agent – an FBI agent who is on the trail of the Broadcast Butcher, a serial killer who slaughters beautiful broadcast journalists by stabbing them many, many times. And Hayden knows that Katrina was his first victim. He knows, even though the police didn’t believe her, didn’t believe she knew who attacked her, didn’t believe that the attacker would return. When Hayden finally tracks Kate down, he attempts to bring her in as a material witness, to drag her into witness protection – to force her to relive her own personal hell on earth.

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Hayden first tells Kate he is “sorry” for what he is going to put her through. She responds, “You’re sorry? . . . For what? For the scars that disfigure my face and body? For the ineptitude of your law enforcement brothers? For believing in a system that doesn’t work?” When his only response is, “It works.” Her reply was a gut wrenching, and oh so true statement. “Like hell it does! It’s a broken system, a broken world, Agent Reed, shattered and ugly and full of evil.” It is so easy for a man like Hayden, a true believer in the perfection of the system of “justice” to overlook all of the failures of society and the legal system – and so easy for a broken Kate to have no belief in the system that failed her so brutally.

What happens in The Broken is a breathtaking race against time, as the body count rises and the Butcher gets closer and closer to his goal of finding Katrina. Finding her, and killing her – “the one who got away.” The writing is tight, leading you from one moment to the next, never giving away too much, never going overboard with the violence, which is mostly ‘off screen’ and yet holds your attention and drags you further into the story. You become a part of the darkness, of the heinous acts of a true “Butcher” – and of the huge disconnect between what one would wish justice to be – and what it truly is.

“Why didn’t you report the second attack?”

 “What would the police say? ‘Ooops! Sorry we screwed up. We’ll do better next time’? I didn’t report the attack, Agent Reed, because it wouldn’t make a difference.”

This is a Very Highly Recommended Read for the lover of suspense, mystery, thrills and chills. I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. And, honestly? It is going on my “Keepers” shelf!

1 Lylah M. Alphonse – Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Parenting – Mon, May 14, 2012 6:14 PM EDT

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