The Ripper Gene by Michael Ransom – a review

I was lucky enough to be contacted by the publisher and offered a free copy of The Ripper Gene by Michael Ransom. It was not just an ebook freebie either, this was a proper hard backed freebie sent all the way from America. Obviously despite the huge excitement that a free hardback book brings, the proof is in the writing, and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint. As people may know I’m a huge fan of Criminal Minds and have watched all nine series at least twice (series one I’ve probably seen three or four times) so a novel set within the world of criminal profiling was always going to be a winner with me.
The main protagonist is Dr Lucas Madden. The story starts with Madden as a child witnessing a traumatic family event and being powerless to stop it. Back to the present day and Madden is now a famous neuroscientist-turned-FBI-profiler who has discovered a gene that was common in the brains of psychopaths, nicknamed the Ripper Gene. He has gone one step further now and proposed the ‘damnation algorithm’ that could predict the way future serial killers may behave.  He is called into a case when a woman is found murdered with a letter on her forehead and an apple next to her. So begins the case the of the Snow White Killer.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and once I started it I struggled to stop reading (sadly work gets in the way of being a full time reader – if only full time reader was an actual paid job!) Clearly the book is written by a scientist and there is a good balance between technical science stuff and murder mystery thriller which really appealed to me. The novel opens with a scene that I really thought was chilling, and this continued through what was a fast paced book. I thought the main characters were both endearing, and there was a good mix of back story whilst still concentrating on the Snow White Killer.
There were some bits that didn’t really ring true, such as why Madden was estranged from his family. To me it just didn’t seem to have been much of a valid reason for Madden to be the one pushed out, however we all know families are funny things. There were also some bits that were very standard for a crime thriller, the rugged handsome detective (FBI Profiler) who is single and lonely, having a relationship with his pretty female companion. Yet these are really minor criticisms, as overall I thought it was a great story.
This is Michael Ransom’s debut novel and I hope there will be plenty more.

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