I’ve been on a roll lately with my reading, and my latest conquest is the sequel to George Kramer‘s medical horror/thriller, Blind to Blood. The first book in this series was my introduction to Kramer. Book-wise, that is. We had met more than a handful of times before I got a chance to dig into one of his books. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and unique story behind the characters. It had its flaws though, and I was hoping to see those fixed with the sequel, Blind to Blood 2: The End Game.
Ben Berstgel is truly a unique character. From his mustard-colored birthmark covering half of his body, to an interesting and well-thought-out backstory involving his mother, Kramer makes it easy to understand where things went wrong for Ben growing up. Throw in the idea that this serial killer doesn’t enjoy physically abusing his victims, and you have one interesting psychopath. This story also introduces some intrigue surrounding Ben’s twin brother. Did he have one? Did he not? I’m very curious to see where this brother story line goes and would’ve really liked to see it explored further in this book.
With as much as I enjoyed the story for both novels, unfortunately, the sequel still wasn’t able to break free of some of the mistakes that I noticed in the first one.
I was really hoping to see a little more attention to detail in the editing and proofreading process. There were several spelling and grammatical mistakes that could be caught with a more attentive editor and more time spent prior to going to press. These things are generally small errors and easy to overlook, but as a reader, they take me out of the story while my brain processes and deciphers the information, and it tends to break up the pacing of the plot. I also struggled with a contradiction from the main character himself, Ben. He mentions several times throughout the book how he likes to punch his victims in the belly in order to get them to bend to his will. As mentioned above though, there’s the idea about how he doesn’t like to abuse his victims, beyond the slaughtering, that is. Those two thoughts tend to work against each other and distracted me from being able to fall completely into the story.
The first person point-of-view is not a common story-telling method, and I have learned myself about what makes it so difficult. It’s not a bad method when properly executed, and Kramer pulls it off pretty well. The biggest draw back would be when the main character, Ben, breaks the 4th wall to talk to the readers, again, taking the reader out of the action of the story.
All of that being said, overall, Blind to Blood 2: The End Game is extremely original and entertaining. At the same time, the gruesome nature is quite cringe-worthy – in a complimentary way. It’s a short, fast read that’s easy to get sucked into, hard to put down, and before you know it, you’re at the end. I’ll give it 3 scalpels out of 5.