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on June 22, 1999
David Wiltse's A PRAYER FOR THE DYING is the best serial-killer thriller since Thomas Harris's RED DRAGON. In it, Wiltse introduces us to a brilliantly conceived lead character, FBI agent John Becker. Becker has the rare gift of pure empathy and projection, enabling him to invade his quarry's subconscience and sift through his motives and dreams. Like DRAGON'S Will Graham, Becker is ashamed at his ability and views himself as a freak, yet, when pulled deeply enough into the hunt, he greedily feeds on his ravenous bloodlust, becoming as deranged and psychologically unstable as his prey.
The madman Roger Dyce, who calmly drains his victims of blood to the point of death, is complex and fascinating in his endeavors, and Wiltse expertly catalogues his behavioral levels, so Dyce's reasonings become lucidly clear to the reader. The prose and dialogue are very inspired here, lending considerable grace to the central premise, momentum to the narrative, and texture and nuance to the characters. This is a wonderful piece of fiction that goes to the head of the class.
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on January 1, 1999
David Wiltse has written a psychological thriller that takes you into the mind of a serial killer. Much like Sandford, Patterson, and Kellerman Wiltse explores the deep-seated causes of the psychopath. The lead character is, former FBI serial killer hunter, John Becker. Becker has retired to a his hometown for the quiet life only to be confronted by another maniac on the loose. Becker's friend the local police chief drags him reluctantly into the chase for the maniac. Wiltse leaves the reasons for Becker's retirement and where Becker got the "gift" of understanding serial killers unexplored. Perhaps these issues were covered in a previous novel. Character exploration aside the book is a fast and frightening look into a very disturbed villian. Good for the beach or a plane not what i would consider a book of substance but highly enjoyable nonetheless.
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on January 9, 1998
This book sent me on a reading frenzy of all of David Wiltse's books. He is an amazing writer who depicts the psychological aspects of serial killers' psyches with aplomb!! He will scare you, excite you, thrill you, and ensnare you in the web that I hope to never leave! I check the web daily to see if a new Wiltse book has been written. He has captured me as an avid reader of mystery and I must say that I've never read anything like his books. All Wiltse books are amazing and I crave his next book more than my next breath of air! Unforunately, I don't have his gift of words and can't possibly hope to express how much I adore his novels. I've never appreciated another author quite like I appreciate him. I worship him!!!
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on January 5, 2000
After having read "Black Notice" by Patricia Cornwell ( which is not worth the time) reading this book was a welcome thrill. Becker is a good guy that isn't too good, and that's the way I like my protagonists. I have already ordered the 2nd book in the series "Close to the Bone" and can't wait to start reading it. Becker has a mystery surrounding him and I will enjoy discovering his secrets!
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on August 24, 1999
This is a good "beach" book. I found the characters less rich and engrossing than I had anticipated from reviews and readers comments. Much of the plot was predictable and more graphically violent than I prefer. I will read more of John Becker, hoping that the books grow in depth and intensity. Overall, a deverting, quick read.
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on July 4, 2001
John Becker returns to the serial hunting fold when men mysteriously disappear. Flashbacks were a bit much. The mode chosen to murder the victims was gruesomely sick. I couldn't stop reading though.
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on June 14, 1999
Wiltse is at his best in Prayer for the dead. If you like Hannibal Lechter - you'll love This book.
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