GOD IS A KILLER by Max Thrax - a review
The end of the world. MacDougall, a violent and ruthless prophet with visions of the apocalypse, returns to his old compound - and his old family. Sheriff Fitzroy, the man who put him behind bars, must protect Bentham County while protecting himself from the DEA. Meth cooks, biker gangs, and a corporation named Lokust should all say their prayers, because everyone knows -
God Is A Killer
'At dusk, Terry "Touchdown" Donovan unzipped the tent flap and watched the wind blow through the fir boughs. Under his sleeping bag, he had six thousand dollars in large bills; next to the money, a loaf of bread and a Glock. The revolver he kept unloaded down the front of his jeans.'
Close to the Bone have been publishing a series of high quality crime novellas for quite some time now. The latest edition to their list is GOD IS A KILLER by Max Thrax.
Terry ‘Touchdown’ Donovan has spent the night in a tent, in possession of six thousand dollars in large bills, a loaf of bread and a gun.
A great opening.
Pretty soon, a stranger turns up. The stranger asks Donovan a question:
‘Have you met your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?’
Anyone familiar with the genre knows whatever Donovan says, things aren’t going to end well for our man Donovan.
The stranger is the recently out of jail, Alex MacDougall - self proclaimed prophet and erstwhile cult leader. Think Anton Chigurth from No Country for Old Men with an evangelical zeal, and you’ll get pretty close to what MacDougall is capable of.
It’s not long before we witness the power MacDougall has over his disciples - on this occasion, a badly injured - and therefore useless - Brewster:
MacDougall coughed and squatted down behind Brewster. The skinhead drew a deep breath, rested his head on MacDougall’s boot.
“Close your eyes,” said MacDougall. “In a moment, you will leave these woods. Think of the Kingdom as we say the Healing Prayer.”
Together they intoned the words:
Blessed is the wound
Blessed is the skin
Blessed is the bone
Blessed is the throne
On which He sits.
Blessed is the touch
Blessed is the hand
Blessed is the tongue
Of the Holy One
Who heals us now.
Over time and space
The creator of the race
Rules the world
And all its flesh.
Blessed is the skin
Blessed is the oil
Rubbed on the sores.
Blessed be the door
That opens to health.
It’s easy to skip these passages in the book - and there are money - but reading them word for word gives you a real sense of the absolute madness of MacDougall.
The scene ends with MacDougall reaching into his back pocket, wiping his nose and pressing the muzzle against the unsuspecting Brewster’s forehead.
The story follows MacDougall’s attempt to re-establish the cult, facing off against all sorts, especially Fitzroy - the local, somewhat bent, local sheriff.
With the DEA breathing down his neck, local meth cooks and biker gangs to deal with, and even his own family stretching his last nerve, Fitzroy really doesn’t need a lunatic like MacDougall turning up.
GOD IS A KILLER is a fantastic read. In terms of the writing, think the callousness of Jim Thompson and the bleakness of Cormac McCarthy, all leading to an absolute blistering clmax.
Cannot recommend this book highly enough.
GOD IS A KILLER is available on Kindle and in Paperback here: