Argentinian author Federico Axat’s story, Kill the Next One starts will a great idea.
Ted McKay seemingly has everything anyone could wish for, he has a happy marriage, two daughters, a luxurious home and a successful business. However, Ted also has a brain tumour and at the beginning of this story, is about to shoot himself.
He is interrupted just as he brings the gun to his head by a knock at the door, which of course he answers…
The man at the door somehow knows what Ted is about to do and puts a proposition to him. If Ted kills two people, the first a murderer who got away with his crime, and a second person who is ill but would rather be murdered than commit suicide, then the next person in the chain will do the same thing, kill a criminal who has escaped punishment, then kill Ted, making his death less guilt-ridden for his family.
Without thinking too much about the implications or possible complications, Ted kills the two people on his list, despite a disturbing sense of familiarity with both of his victims.
Without giving too much of the rest of the story away, Ted is an unreliable narrator. The story unfolded this way and that, and while there were hints of how things turned out, there was no way of knowing anything for certain.
The story was translated from Spanish, which gave everything a sense of being slightly off-centre. The words didn’t flow as smoothly in English as I imagine they would when read in Spanish.
One reviewer compared this story to Hitchcock, Jules Verne and episodes of Lost, so I had high hopes of not being able to put this book down. (Just by the way, Lost is the last television series I watched, and I’m still dirty about the ending. What a cop-out!). However, my opinion is that this reviewer was misguided. Kill the Next One was okay, but to compare it to Hitchcock, Jules Verne or Lost is far-fetched. I think the story started well but the idea was far better than the outcome. A very nasty bit of animal torture in the last few chapters deserves a warning too.
If I had to describe this book in one word I would go with frustrating.