*WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAIN SPOILERS*
A Necessary Evil can be categorized as a modern thriller with twists around every corner. The story is told by a handful of characters whose relationships intertwine in very unpredictable ways. Each chapter is written in the perspective of a key character in the story, beginning with Collin, the assumed biggest sociopath and serial killer in the book.
Author, Christina Kaye, throws her readers into the mind of psychopath from page one. Collin begins the book with his final stalking and kidnapping of 19-year-old Mollie. Kaye allows him to describe his devilish 30-year plan to get revenge on the murder of his late, also serial killer and psychopath, father.
Every decisions Collin makes prior to the story beginning draws a parallel to the disturbing life his father lived. Both men stalked pretty young girls, kidnapped, raped and then murdered them. It’s unclear where they bodies were disposed of except for the one victim that ties every character together, Addie.
In 1977, Collin’s father, Julian, kidnapped Addie – twin sister to Detective Kurt Jamison and girlfriend to Franklin Cartwright (Mollie’s gangster grandfather). In response to this gruesome murder, Franklin Cartwright spends over a year tracking down Julian, torturing and murdering him for the death of his girlfriend (whom we find out later was secretly pregnant) and robbing Julian’s newborn son of his father. A pretty heavy story so far for a less than 300 page book, right?
This murder, over 30 years, is the center point for the entire store. 50 percent of the story is told underground where Collin has Mollie held captive and chained to wall. The other 50 is split between Franklin and Kurt trying to beat each other to Mollie. The competition between those to is so fierce because prior to Addie’s murder, they considered themselves blood brothers. After her death however, Franklin chose the crime filled dark side and Kurt joined the Army and then the police force. Their entire relationship is a comparison of good vs. evil.
Eventually, which the reader expects, Franklin finds his granddaughter and holds Collin hostage to await a trail by his criminal peers and innocent Mollie is returned to her distraught mother. Up to this point in the story, Collin is presented as a complete monster – stalking, kidnapping and killing young women for the sake of preparing for his big date with Mollie. At some point, you start to feel sorry for this guy as he openly shares about his tormented childhood and Daddy issues. Mollie, who also grew up without a father, is seen as the bastard child who chose the right path and suffered love and loss at no fault of her own.
Since the capture of Collin and release of Mollie, the suspense has been building. Kurt is desperately trying to track down Franklin before he kills Collin; Collin is attempting to escape, and Franklin is having a field day allowing his cronies to decide whether Collin will be drugged, burned or mutilated to death.
All characters come together in an epic death scene when Kurt figures out that Franklin is holding Collin hostage on an old farm owned by Franklin’s ex-wife. Franklin’s team decides to drug Collin, eliminating the function of his body, and then burn him alive. Unfortunately, the evil genius doctor overdoses Collin causing him to seize and die.
At that moment, Kurt bursts into the room “catching” Franklin in the act (clean knife in hand) and attempted to put him under arrest. Both men are described as well past middle-aged so it’s easy to image two grandpas trying to tackle each other to the ground. Kurt seems to have the upper hand, then BANG! He’s shot and killed by the biggest master character of all, Mollie.
At this point, I was completely confused. Mollie’s character had been presented as childlike and innocent – not a murder. The final chapter gives some clarity on this shocking turn of events. Kurt’s partner, Lonnie, finishes up the book with Kurt’s funeral and the discovery of Mollie’s confiscated diary. After looking through just a few pages, Lonnie discovers that Mollie is no angel at all, but fits right into her crime family.
Lonnie reads a page from the anniversary of her late boyfriend, Dalton’s, death, whom we are told in the beginning of the story committed suicide. Mollie admits on these private pages that she shot Dalton in the head for cheating on her and somehow managed to convince everyone it was suicide. Lonnie even continues to find out she was not naive to her grandfathers line of work as we all assumed. Mollie paints the real picture of her hidden dark side, even down to killing innocent animals her mother keeps buying her.
Reading these words was the biggest twist of them all. I was completely caught of guard and left speechless. Those entire 200+ pages I thought I had this story and characters figured out, but really had clue how it all would end.
After reflecting back on this full story, I believe I can see the major theme. Everyone has skeletons in their closest and will do just about anything to protect them.
Christina Kaye released her latest book, A Necessary Evil, December 2017 and I was privileged enough to read her latest work. Her previous work, Like Father, Like Daughter, was named Suspense Finalist for the Indie Excellence Awards.