Killer Within is the second adult fiction book by Jeff Gunhus. He has previously written a young adult trilogy. Arnie Millhouse seems like a normal guy. He’s a millionaire, has a teenage son, and seems like a typical guy. Yet behind the mask of normality he’s a ruthless serial killer no one knows about, not even his own son. When his name pops up during the murder investigation of a high end call girl, he quickly makes plans to disappear. And chance brings him the perfect victim for a final kill, the beautiful Allison McNeil. However, Allison knows about him and will do anything to get close to him, despite her own dark secret.
You couldn’t have asked for a more different book from his previous, Night Chill, which was a supernatural horror. Killer Within is a mystery/suspense/thriller, and I was hooked from the very start. The book starts off with Arnie as a beaten down, insecure father you sympathize with, and within the space of a few pages he snaps. While being an innocent bystander during a robbery, he has an epiphany: the danger he’s has excited him, making him feel alive, & giving him the power he needs to take control of his life. He kills the robber (think of the scene in Goodfells with Joe Pesci & the pencil), then hooked on the feeling of power, kill the teenaged store clerk as well. It’s very shocking and very intense. This leads him into years of killing with no one none the wiser.
Allison is also very interesting character. She has unresolved issues stemming from her time at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, which makes her return to follow Arnie all the harder on her. She keeps going, even though her flashbacks cripple her emotionally on several occasions. She struggles with this through the entire book, and it makes her feel a little sympathetic to Arnie since she understands his desire to fix himself. She eventually comes to terms with these issues by the end of the book, mostly due to her final encounter with Arnie, however I see a really possibility of more issues popping up due to the fallout. It will be interesting to see how her character develops in future books.
Overall, the book is a must read for mystery and thriller fans. The writing is top notch, and the story will have you hooked. The twist at the end about why Allison was really after Arnie was also great. I will warn you that it is a bit graphic at times. It is available in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon. You can also keep up with Mr. Gunhus on his website.
I received the above mentioned book for free to help facilitate my review.
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