The Killing Lessons – Saul Black (Valerie Hart 1)


The Killing Lessons was published by Orion on 7 May 2015 and is available to buy here

When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper’s isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it’s the end of everything. For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it’s just another stop on a long and bloody journey. And they still have many miles to go, and victims to sacrifice, before their work is done.

For San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart, their trail of corpses – women abducted, tortured and left with a seemingly random series of objects inside them – has brought her from obsession to the edge of physical and psychological destruction. And she’s losing hope of making a breakthrough before that happens.

But the slaughter at the Cooper farmhouse didn’t quite go according to plan. There was a survivor, Rowena’s 10-year-old daughter Nell, who now holds the key to the killings. Injured, half-frozen, terrified, Nell has only one place to go. And that place could be even more terrifying than what she’s running from.

My thoughts

I am always on the look out for a good dark brutal thriller. The Killing Lessons has been on my radar, for quite a while. It had fabulous reviews, at publication. I finally got to it!

It all starts with a couple of seasoned killers slaughtering a family, in their isolated home. A child escapes and runs far away. She finds a safe place to hide. We are introduced to  two serial killers. We learn about their motives and their dark thoughts. They are the kind of people that need a danger sign placed over their heads. Stay away. Sadistic men, who play at murder. At the same time, we are introduced to a flawed and self-destructive police detective. Valerie Hart is a hunter. She is seeking a killer of women, who leaves random objects inserted into their bodies.

This was such an impressive read. There was never a dull moment, to be had. Saul Black doesn’t let us stop for breath, as we rush from the crime scene to the injured child to the killers and the detective. We peer into the cold minds of the killers. We see what made Valerie Hart break. We watch the killers in action. Can they be stopped? Will Valerie Hart and her team make progress, on the case? How long will it take for Valerie to find the child witness to the killings?

Utterly brilliant. I could even forgive Saul Black (aka Glenn Duncan) for his stereotypical alcoholic detective. I adored every word.






About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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3 Responses to The Killing Lessons – Saul Black (Valerie Hart 1)

  1. I’ve had this one on my shelf to read for aaages now! Haven’t really seen many people review it either.
    Fab review – glad you enjoyed the book! The stereotypical detective does make me wary, but I’ll still give a shot (at some point lol)

  2. This one’s on my reading wishlist already! I’m happy to hear you loved it so much. I’m not normally a fan of the clichéd alcoholic detective either but I like that it didn’t bother you very much in the end. Fab review!

  3. Pingback: Lovemurder – Saul Black (Valerie Hart 2) | #northern #crime

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