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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Project Cain by Geoffrey Girard

Title: Project Cain
Author: Geoffrey Girard
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publishing House: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9781442476967
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


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'.

There, he was created entirely from Jeffrey Dahmer's DNA. There are others like Jeff - those genetically engineered directly from the most notorious murderers of all time: The Son of Sam, The Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy... even other Jeffrey Dahmer clones. Some raised, like Jeff, in caring family environments; others within homes that mimicked the horrific early lives of the men they were created from.

When the most dangerous boys are set free by the geneticist who created them, the summer of killing begins. Worse, these same teens now hold a secret weapon even more dangerous than the terrible evil they carry within. Only Jeff can help track the clones down before it's too late. But will he catch the 'monsters' before becoming one himself?

(Image, summary and information courtesy of Goodreads)


Jeff is on the run. From what, he's not exactly sure. All he knows is that they are coming. He doesn't know what they want from him, because he has nothing they could possibly want. That is, until he finds out that he is the only one of seventeen boys to be 100% replicated from the DNA of notorious serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. Jeff's not the only one cloned from a serial killer; almost every serial killer has at least one living, breathing representative, and Jeff must track them down before everything turns into the biggest living nightmare the world has ever witnessed.

I've read a lot about Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and almost all the serial killers documented from the United States. Most of them are violent because of the environment they grew up in, triggering all these synapses for brutal killing. And some, only a handful of them are, because it's in their genes. Project Cain once again brings up the old debate between nature versus nurture, wherein a fictional - at least I hope it is - US company, in conjunction with the military, use clones of serial killers to be their guinea pigs. Some families are instructed to raise the clone in a good environment, and some get paid to re-enact the clone's "original" home life. The novel is rife with conspiracy theories that I did enjoy, and short biodata of the serial killers, which did refresh some of my memory. 

But other than that, Project Cain did not really carve out a niche for itself just like I hoped. There was no internal conflict drama from the main character, which I badly wanted, and there was little to non-existent action. (Actually there are some action stuff going on, but it'll hardly keep anyone buzzed.) And could you really fault me for thinking this one was going to be good? Look at that cover! It looks more than well-versed in butt-kicking than staying in hotel rooms (which was like, what, 85% of the novel?) I get that Jeff's supposed to be hiding from the other kids, and that DIST, the company that "created" them is after them as well. (Yes, them. This other guy gets roped into helping Jeff.) But guess what? DIST doesn't seem to actually give a fig about Jeff. Those replicas of serial killers seem be to way more interested in killing people than recruiting Jeff to be part of them. And the secret weapon that's supposedly very dangerous? Heck yeah it's dangerous, but it wasn't as exciting as the blurb made it seem.

Jeff was hardly interesting, and the way he was written made it seem like he was this very young boy instead of being around sixteen or seventeen. He was fighting his inner demons for a bit, sure, but it was more like he was fighting his own delusions. And because he's technically 100% Jeffrey Dahmer (Yes, even the egg carries Jeffrey Dahmer.) he sees Dahmer's victims all over the place. Which is weird. But despite being a clone of Dahmer, Jeff is normal, for lack of a better term, to the point of being of coming across as sheltered. Well, DIST did pick this Jeff to be raised in a good environment, so the Dahmer characteristics obviously did not show up. 

If books with serial killers are your thing, I'd really rather recommend Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers. Project Cain may have a very tempting blurb, but it hardly delivered, what with its lackluster characters and weak storyline.


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