My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 300
Publisher - Britains Next Bestseller
Source - Amazon (ebook) & Print copy from the author
Blurb from Goodreads
His crimes - unforgivable. His death - inevitable. His suffering - just beginning.
Obadiah Stark aka The Tally Man, is executed at ADX Absolom, his death sentence watched by the world's media, victim relatives and one investigative reporter, Joe O Connell. Penning an account of Stark's personal history and subsequent crimes in the hope of determining what elements make the sociopathic mind tick, Joe discovers clues and inconsistencies which cause him to investigate Stark's execution.
While this is happening in the real world, Obadiah Stark awakens to an afterlife where he has a wife and daughter bound to his childhood hometown. Following his natural predatory instinct, Obadiah proceeds to torment the town, committing multiple murders before being gunned down by the police. He awakens to find that everything has reset, with no one recalling his murderous spree a reality which offers no escape. As the scenes repeat, he is forced to submit to emotions he has never experienced before... and with it, a poisonous dose of morality.
Obadiah Stark is a killing machine, no morals, no care for any human and no remorse even when he is about to die, by the hand of the state. Joe O'Connell has been wrapped up in his job, a journalist covering Obadiah's murder and destruction, now Obadiah is dead he can focus on his book. However not all as it seems, after a tip off Joe starts digging into Stark's life and death taking him down a path there is no way back from. For Stark, he expects to finally find peace, only to awaken back in his hometown with loved ones around him making him question his sanity and existence.
The story is really split threefold, that of Stark just before and following the execution, Joe just before the execution and what happens after and the profiling of Stark and his crimes dottered throughout the book. I have to say Stark was the most riveting, whilst reading the profiling was also gripping it had a very different feel and pace to that of Stark and it made for a bit of distraction. Absolutely interesting in its own offering and insights, adding a different voice to the story. Whereas Joe brought a humane feel to the book as with the reader, he tries to understand Stark's impact on the families, those left behind in his path of destruction and who the killer actually was.
Obadiah, post execution was the real gripper for me. You, like him, have no actual idea of what has happened and we get to see the killing machine unleashed without boundaries. As with everything there are no actions without consequences and watching the penny drop for Obadiah and how he reacts was something I haven't read in fiction so far. An interesting and fresh premise from McCaffrey and made for a great page turner to see what was in store next for the characters. I think I need to re read In Extremis now before heading onto the newest offering "Nameless", 4/5 for me this time.