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Monday, November 21, 2016

Criminal Zoo by Sean McDaniel [4.5 stars]

 
 
From the Description
 
Like millions of children, Samuel Bradbury comes from a broken home. Yet he still enjoys the everyday activities of being a kid: playing basketball, shooting his air rifle, and hanging out. Something else, however, exists inside Samuel—something that sets him apart from other children. He enjoys killing.

Samuel's murderous impulses follow him into manhood and his lethal actions ultimately land him in the Criminal Zoo—society's final answer to a problem as old as mankind. His days are filled with suffering, as visitors with revenge in mind are allowed physical interaction with the inmates. He exists in torturous misery and all hope is lost. Death, an unattainable early release, becomes his only desire. An unexpected guest, however, changes everything; a surprise visit will decide Samuel's fate.

This is his story.
 
 
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Publication Length: 352 pages
 
 
I received a copy of this book for review purposes. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this anthology. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.
 

Criminal Zoo is a compelling and thought provoking story. When I first started reading about Samuel Bradbury I felt bad for him. He comes from a broken home and lives with his abusive father so his bitterness kinda made sense. But then I had to stop and say "Wait,,, WHAT!?! Turns out he's a serial killer. His reasoning and the matter of fact way he thinks about his murders is chilling. After he's sentenced to death as an exhibit in the Criminal Zoo, a prison that allows an eye for an eye type justice for violent offenders, the horror is taken to a whole new level. Much like Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door, this book is very hard to read but at the same time I couldn't put it down. A truly disturbing book that I wouldn't recommend to the faint hearted, but for the rest of you horror fiends I say grab this book and get ready for a twisted tale. An extremely well written 4.5 star read.
 
 
Buy the Book
 

About the Author
 
 
 
Sean McDaniel, born in Durango, CO, grew up on the plains of southeastern New Mexico. At the age of twenty-five, he founded Plaza Fitness Health Club, and is also a contributing editor for MuscleMag International. He lives in Billings, MT.
 
 

Praise
 
 
"A penetrating look inside a killer’s head; disquieting but insightful." —Kirkus Reviews


"I often found myself almost buying Samuel’s twisted logic and it made me think about what a fragile thing sanity is. The idea of the criminal zoo is such a great way to write about the darkest side of human nature. Monsters and victims and the fine line between." —Katie Arnoldi, author of Chemical Pink and Point Dume


"Criminal Zoo is a chilling narrative into the mind of a serial killer. This book is terrifying, not the creepy 'who's behind the door' scary, but disquieting, in the way the reader is immediately brought into the killer's world. Sean McDaniel does a great job of giving the reader an insight into the thoughts, actions, and justifications of the villain through a first person chronicle. McDaniel has created a standout novel. Good character development, a twisting plot complete with a couple of 'didn't see that coming' moments, and a crucial social issue all contribute to making this a must read." —Larry Kennedy, owner of The Book Cellar