Deadly DNA | Cyn’s Book Review of Project Cain

By: Cynthia A.


By: Geoffery Girard

Published: September 3, 2013

Publisher: Simon Schuster

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Science Fiction, Horror, Mystery

There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Fifteen-year-old Jeff Jacobson had never heard of Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer who brutally murdered seventeen people more than twenty years ago. But Jeff’s life changes forever when the man he’d thought was his father hands him a government file telling him he was constructed in a laboratory only seven years ago, part of a top-secret government cloning experiment called ‘Project CAIN’.  However, he isn’t the only one.  There are others out there, some raised like Jeff in a caring family environment, others within homes full of abusive situations.  But then the most deadly of these boys are set free, the summer killings begin and soon, it’s what they carry that the world has to fear.

This is a novel with a very captivating concept.  The government is studying the genetic structure and mindset behind infamous serial killers.  How are they doing this?  By cloning them then raising them in completely different settings.  Some get the loving home while others are subjected to the same horrific living conditions that the original serial killers lived through, putting nature versus nurture against each other.  Then one mad scientists with delusions of grandeur, sets them loose.  Soon the body count rises state after state.

Jeff, the protagonist, is one of these clones.  Once the murders happen at his high school, the government-employed company, DSTI, goes to Jeff for answers because his father is the mad scientist.  They send in Castillo, former Marine, to investigate and find out some answers.  All he find his Jeff and his fathers’ notes.  As they hunt down Jeff’s father and the dangerous clones, they have piece together the puzzle left behind.

Girard offers readers a unique and interesting perspective but this is not the type of novel readers will want to pick up for leisure.  The entire novel is written as a narrative, no dialogue, no stream of consciousness, just narrative.  Therefore, while it is a relatively easy read, it’s not entirely captivating.  The reason is because the narrative keeps you in the characters head, and he’s not a very interesting character.  Jeff’s characterization is very two-dimensional for most of the novel and while readers are seeing something through the characters eyes, there is not a lot of detail in regards to the settings and the scenes.  Now, while the construction of the narrative is well done, the scenes when the main characters are attacked comes off as jarring and a confusing read.  With that in mind, an outside point of view in those scenes, or at the very least, taking it out of the narrative form, would have made scenes such as that easier to read. 

Despite that though, it’s a very interesting read about serial killers and really goes into what makes them tick.  Moreover, the concept behind it offers readers something unique.  While the characterization leaves something to be desired for most of the book, the last ten chapters of the novel were spectacular.  The final chapters of the novel were fast paced and characterization finally exploded off the pages, showing their growth and chemistry in a heartbreaking and beautiful way.  ★★★☆☆ (C+)

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