Paul Kane’s THE GEMINI FACTOR breathes some fresh air into the serial killer subgenre, chronicling the efforts of Sergeant Harrison and Inspector Mason as they work tirelessly to solve a series of murders in the city of Norchester. What makes their case unique is that the killer is only targeting twins, using a two-pronged fork to kill one twin while letting the other one live. The suspect also takes a trophy from each victim by removing one item from a paired body part (i.e. one hand, one leg, etc). As more and more bodies are found, the city of Norchester lives in fear of the “Twin Killer,” or “Twinkle” for short.
As Sergeant Harrison analyzes the murders, she notices a man who routinely shows up at each scene. After chasing him down and bringing him in for questioning, she learns that the man – Jack Foley – is the surviving member of a set of twins. Jack’s brother was murdered two years prior to the current rash of murders, after which Jack devoted his life to tracking down his sibling’s killer. But what Sergeant Harrison learns next is enough to make her question the vigilante’s sanity: Jack is able to “see” each killing as they’re about to happen. Jack believes he’s been given this power because the killer took one of his twin’s eyeballs as a trophy. The problem is that Jack has always been one step behind the killer, unable to use his visions to intercede on future victims’ behalf. After seeing Jack have one of his episodes, Sergeant Harrison decides to team up with him in hopes of ending the massacre taking place in Norchester.
Kane ‘s tale of suspense is a fun read. Not only is the nature of the killings so unique, but the story also goes through numerous twists and turns along the way. There’s no doubt in my mind that readers will think they know where Kane is leading them, only to have the rug yanked out from beneath them time and again. Kane’s style is such that you can’t help but turn the page to see what he’s going to do next, and it’s that unpredictability that has earned my readership in the last couple years. Simply put, the man can tell one hell of an entertaining yarn.
(Minor spoilers ahead.)
One aspect of the story that didn’t work for me is the romantic relationship that develops between Sergeant Harrison and Jack Foley. Other than a couple of Q&A sessions between the two characters, they didn’t spend much time together prior to the finale ramping up. But along the way both characters periodically daydream about each other, eventually leading to a romantic evening and plans for the future. These snippets seemed too forced for me, and in my opinion it would have worked better to have a more business-like relationship between the two characters. I understood why Kane went the route he did once I got to the epilogue, but the paper-thin process of getting to that scene didn’t justify its inclusion.
If you’re looking for a fun summer read, go grab a copy of THE GEMINI FACTOR…and while you’re at it, pick up a couple more of Kane’s books. He hasn’t disappointed me yet, and I’m guessing you’ll enjoy his writing too.
THE GEMINI FACTOR was released as a trade paperback by Screaming Dreams Press with a cover price of $15.99.
(7 out of 10)