“Sinner” By Christopher Graves
By Samantha Shrider / December 15th 2017
Author: Christopher Graves
Publisher: OP Media
Publication Date: April 5th 2018
Source & Format: Smith Publicity, ARC Paperback
Page Count: 314
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller
As a direct descendant of the 19th century vigilante gang, the Bald Knobbers, Ezekiel Woods, Jr. has been indoctrinated into a world ruled by violence and a literal interpretation of the bible his entire life. Now, over a hundred years later, Zeke continues his ancestors’ crusade, spending his days camouflaged as an aloof middle-aged grocery store sacker and his nights in a farmhouse cellar, preparing captives’ souls for their ultimate destiny: redemption or death. His latest abductee, an indomitable Texan working her way through a third-life crisis, chooses another option: escape. Zeke must recapture this lost sheep or face a consequence far worse than any worldly fate: that God has forsaken him.
If you’re afraid of something, Sinner probably has it.
“Sinner” opens with a flashback to 1887 Missouri, where madam Minerva Yates is murdered outside her brothel by a group of men in horned hoods. They are known as the Bald Knobbers, a group of men who are religious zealots who believe it is their God-given duty to punish sinners, particularly women. Flash forward to the modern era and a descendant of this religious cult.
“Sinner” is written by actor and award winner screen writer Christpher Graves and actually started as an award winning script. My biggest complaint about the novel is that some parts felt like they literally just changed the formatting from the script and if you changed it back you could print your sides* for the day.
Once I got into the groove of the writing I couldn’t put it down. Although you know who the serial killer is throughout the book, certain scenes are through his point of view, I still felt my heart pounding as I anticipated what would come next. I thought knowing who are antagonist was would give me less anxiety reading, but in fact it only added to my fears. One of my favorite parts about the story was the protagonist, a Texan woman who moved to New Jersey to find herself and gets more than she bargains for in her quest. She doesn’t back down and let fear overwhelm her, and I found myself relieved that her character isn’t a damsel in distress.
The book is written through several pov’s and flashbacks, ranging from at least two victims of the serial killer, as well as the serial killer himself and his mother at one point. I did feel like some of the scenes were definitely added to flesh out a movie. I would also warn that there are definitely horror aspects to this novel as it is a thriller based around a serial killer and his victims and what made him what he is; if rape, incest, torture or child abuse are strong triggers for you I would avoid reading this book altogether.
I would however highly recommend this book to those who like a good horror thriller, I read it in two sittings and had a hard time sleeping when I was finished. What the book lacked in style and narrative it made up for in pacing and dialogue and realistic plot, I felt like I could have been reading about these murders in a newspaper and that realism is what I feel makes a great thriller. The end of the book was perfect: not at all predictable and completely terrifying. I can’t wait to read more of Graves writing, but I’ll be skipping the movie- I don’t really want to have a face for my nightmares.
“Sinner” releases today and you can pick it up on the amazon link provided here Buy Sinner on Amazon
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Smith Publicity. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. You can find more reviews like this one at ReviewbythePage.com
*sides are the daily pages of the script that are handed out to cast and crew on film sets.
About the Author
Christopher Graves is an actor, award-winning screenwriter and author living in New York City.