Hey, so I'll be heading off to a class camp today, but before that, blog tour! Today's blog tour stop is for The Ripper Gene by Michael Ransom.
The Ripper Gene is a mystery starring Dr. Lucas Madden, a neuroscientist/FBI profiler who discovers something called the Ripper Gene, a genetic mutation that makes some people predisposed to serial killing. In the book, he's called back to his hometown to chase a murderer the press calls the Snow White Killer (SNK, as they call the killer). As the case progresses, it becomes clear that this murder is tied to Lucas's childhood, and his mother's murder.
First things first, this book delivers on its promise. The mystery is solid, and I was flipping page after page in order to find out what happened. There were plenty of twists and turns in the story, but I never felt like it was unbelievable.
Now on to the other stuff. The main theme of the book is (to me at least), something like "who determines our destiny"? Are we a product of our genes, or do we have any free will? While Lucas Madden is an atheist, his father is a pastor. Obviously, the two see the world very differently, and while his father doesn't appear that much, it did raise the question of predetermination vs free-will. Bear in mind, this theme is brought up very strongly towards the end of the book. I didn't think it was preachy though.
As for characters, well, I liked Lucas, and didn't get why his estranged from his family (and why it's his fault). It's pretty obvious that he's the "black sheep" of sorts, but I don't get why he's getting blamed for so much. I mean, for example, early in the book, Lucas was called by his brother's girlfriend, who was actually his girlfriend but she cheated on Lucas with his brother before they broke up. Turns out, she was kidnapped (don't worry, this doesn't spoil anything major), and she accused Lucas of being the perpetrator (she's not right in the head). But, in the hospital scene when the family visits, his brother lost his temper pretty quickly, yet was described has having held out an olive branch. That, I didn't get. What as Lucas supposed to apologise for? His estrangement with his father I get, but not the brother.
Overall, I really liked this book. The mystery kept me engaged, and I definitely want to read more adventures starring Lucas Madden (and fellow profiler Woodson). Hopefully this will be the first in a series.
About The Ripper Gene:
A neuroscientist-turned-FBI-profiler discovers a genetic signature that produces psychopaths in The Ripper Gene, a thrilling debut novel from Michael Ransom.
Dr. Lucas Madden is a neuroscientist-turned-FBI profiler who first gained global recognition for cloning the ripper gene and showing its dysfunction in the brains of psychopaths. Later, as an FBI profiler, Madden achieved further notoriety by sequencing the DNA of the world's most notorious serial killers and proposing a controversial "damnation algorithm" that could predict serial killer behavior using DNA alone.
Now, a new murderer-the Snow White Killer-is terrorizing women in the Mississippi Delta. When Mara Bliss, Madden's former fiancée, is kidnapped, he must track down a killer who is always two steps ahead of him. Only by entering the killer's mind will Madden ultimately understand the twisted and terrifying rationale behind the murders-and have a chance at ending the psychopath's reign of terror.
About the Author:
MICHAEL RANSOM is a molecular pharmacologist and a recognized expert in the fields of toxicogenomics and pharmacogenetics. He is widely published in scientific journals and has edited multiple textbooks in biomedical research. He is currently a pharmaceutical executive and an adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Raised in rural Mississippi, he now makes his home in northern New Jersey. The Ripper Gene is his first novel.
The Ripper Gene [Forge Books / Macmillan] is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and in brick-and-mortar bookstores across North America.