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Project Cain #1

Project Cain

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Sixteen-year-old Jeff Jacobson had never heard of Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer who brutally murdererd seventeen people more than twenty years ago. But then Jeff discovers he was constructed in a laboratory only eight years ago, part of a top-secret government cloning experiment called Project CAIN. And scientists created him entirely from Jeffrey Dahmer's DNA.

Jeff isn't the only teenage serial-killer clone. Others have been genetically engineered using the DNA of the Son of Sam, the Boston Strangler, and Ted Bundy. Some clones were raised, like Jeff, in caring family environments; others within homes that mimicked the horrific early lives of the serial killers they were created from.

When the most dangerous of the boys are set free, the summer of killing begins. Worse, they hold a secret weapon even more deadly than the terrible evil they carry within.

Can Jeff help catch the "monsters" before becoming one himself?

341 pages, Hardcover

First published September 3, 2013

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About the author

Geoffrey Girard

24 books182 followers
Geoffrey Girard writes thrillers, historicals, and dark speculative fiction. Simon and Schuster published two Girard novels simultaneously in 2013: CAIN'S BLOOD, a techno thriller, and PROJECT CAIN, a companion novel for teen/YA readers which was nominated for a Bram Stoker award for "Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel."

Girard's short fiction has appeared in several best-selling anthologies and magazines, including Writers of the Future (a 2003 winner), Prime Codex, Aoife's Kiss, The Willows, Murky Depths, Apex Horror & Science Fiction Digest, and the Stoker-nominated Dark Faith anthology.

Born in Germany and shaped in New Jersey, Geoffrey currently lives in Ohio and is the English Department Chair at a private boys' high school. He has a BA in English literature from Washington College and an MA in creative writing from Miami University.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 284 reviews
319 reviews1,891 followers
May 10, 2013
** I also now have no respect whatsoever for this author. Guess what, Geoffrey Girard? You just lost MANY readers. But it's okay, guys! Just watch Dora and SVU at the same time--it's practically the same thing as reading Project Cain. Also, it creeps me out that the 'If there were a party of good YA books about serial killers, Project Cain would be the creepy one standing outside the window, wanting to join them' quote was said by me about this book on Twitter, not Goodreads, so I'm not exactly sure how he found that tweet...

I can't do it. I just can't. I read up until about 40%, and the entirety of what I read--literally, all of it--was one huge info-dump.

There were three to four pages dedicated to just the main character telling us the characteristics and likes and dislikes of a man. Here are some examples of the likes and dislikes of this man:

He preferred brunettes over blondes, but his last girlfriend, the first he'd ever truly loved, was blonde.

His favorite band was Pearl Jam.

He disliked snow.

If any of that information is proven to be useful as the novel progresses, I would give the author my right arm. And I am right-handed.

And then there's another three pages or so on the history of cloning.

And why exactly are they making teenage clones of serial killers? Which scientist thought this would be a good idea? Yeah, send him off a cliff. Like now.

And then there's some horribly inaccurate statistics of men and rape and death and suicide and domestic violence.

And don't even get me started on how the main character asks the reader questions and speaks to them directly.

I'm not five years old, and you're not Dora; you can stop asking me questions like, "Have YOU ever felt the urge to kill someone?", book. Ay dios mio.

I can't.

I really just can't.


Profile Image for Jennifer McGowan.
Author 5 books328 followers
October 22, 2012
I was lucky enough to read an early version of Project Cain, and can't get it out of my mind. The core story is about a shy, bookish teen who must battle the monster he discovers hidden within his own DNA... and join forces with a shadowy government operative to stop a group of similarly-afflicted teens who've embarked on a killing spree. Layered in with this action is a haunting exploration of nature vs. nurture and science vs. soul - told with emotion, authenticity and surprisingly touching humor. A must read.
Profile Image for Nicole.
136 reviews
March 8, 2014
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The idea for this book was simply intriguing.
"Say what? The government takes dead serial killers and make clones? OMG! Where do I sign up to read it?!"

Yeah, but it was dull. WHHHHHYYY take a brilliant idea and waste it!
There was absolutely no dialogue. -_- How do you write a book and not add dialogue?
Did you perhaps forget? Maybe you were busy with other things like fishing or eating pizza?
I don't know and I don't get it.
Jeff is on the run with a man who doesn't like him, the end, basically. Nothing even happens in the book.
I personally didn't even care about any of the characters. Nope, didn't even care.
Really. Nothing even exciting happens.
Then the ending was flat. So, I read about nothing then nothing happens?
Well, okay.
If you want to read a book about nothing, well, here it is! The book about nothing where nothing happens!
Profile Image for Evie.
706 reviews923 followers
October 11, 2013
If you've known me for a while, you're probably well aware of two things. First, I am a very forgiving and easy to please reader who rarely dislikes a book enough to give it anything less than 3 stars. Second, I love creepy stories, dark and disturbing premises and unsettling plots. That being said, I have never read a book before with such fantastically blood-chilling premise and such poor execution. Project Cain had so much potential that was never realized, it would've surely broken my heart, if I wasn't so damn mad at this book!

So what's the deal here?
First of all, there is no dialogue in this book. Non. The narration is scattered, which makes the plot extremely hard to follow. It's also nonsensical and boring, filled with tons of scientific info that, while some of it genuinely interesting, was for the most part unnecessary and irrelevant. And while this alone was quite unpleasant, it was something I could still overlook and get past. What I really couldn't stand, though, was the narrator himself. We're following the *adventures* of Jeff Jacobson, a teenage kid who one day discovers that he's a clone of a serial killer from 1980's, Jeffrey Dahmer. What a unique and intriguing concept! I just couldn't wait to get started on this one, but boy, was I disappointed! For a book that follows a clone of one of the most dangerous serial killers in the history of the US, there is remarkably little to no exploration of the hero's psyche. Nothing about how he feels about his discovery. Nothing about any moral struggles, repressed urges to kill, dark thoughts (or their lack thereof). Non of these things are addressed. The narration is dry and emotionless. Like a mid term paper on *the day I found out that I am an evil version of Dolly the sheep.*

The character development is minimal. All we really learn about Jeff is his origin, there's little to no back story, and even the parts dedicated to describing his relationship with his father are very short and kept to a minimum. I expected a complex, conflicted hero, instead I got someone who was detached, passive and completely indifferent.

The simple, conversational tone assumed by the narrator resembles a diary. Jeff asks the reader questions and overuses the word "seriously". The book is filled with short, simple sentences and repetitive statements. On top of that, there are numerous instances when we have the narrator describing something in the present time, and also making a premonition about how he'll feel about it, or what more he'll learn in relation to it, in the future. All that was extremely off-putting and annoying.

The military science, genetics of violent behavior and - most importantly - cloning was all obviously extensively researched by the author. It's also explained very comprehensively and makes for an interesting read. I do, however, feel like the author felt the need to include all of his findings in the story, making it very heavy on scientific detail and resulting in a great intellectual stimulation for the reader, but no real emotional engagement in the story. All the information is seemingly accurate (can't be sure, though, don't know all the facts and statistics), it feels legit, but it doesn't make the story any better. Sure, it was interesting to learn more about all these things, but I don't need to read YA fiction for that, I can easily look it up on Wikipedia. Geoffrey Girard forgot to put the fiction in his science fiction novel.

To this day, I have no idea what was the point of this story. What did the author try to achieve by telling this odd tale? If it was about deciding whether violence is something inherited through genes or gained from environment, then I'm afraid this story failed miserably.

To sum it all up, to call Project Cain a bad book would not be fair to all the bad books out there. Bad books we read, we dislike and we put down with a dismissive shrug. And then we move on with our lives and pretty much forget about them. Project Cain, on the other hand, is a whole new level of bad. It's that kind of bad that makes your blood boil. It's frustrating to the point you find yourself looking around for someone to punch, or something to break, or - ideally - break something on someone else's face. Multiple times. It's not a book you can shrug off and forget about, it's a book that, every time you'll think about it, you'll just get angry all over again. Well, at least that's how I feel. And I honestly doubt there are readers out there who are even more forgiving and understanding than I am.
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews63 followers
September 6, 2013
Geoffrey Girard's debut is two pronged. There's CAIN'S BLOOD, his adult novel, which I definitely want to read. Then there's PROJECT CAIN, the YA novel, covering the same events from a different point of view. They both focus on the hunt for six teenagers, all products of the same scientific experiment.

The Cain duo has a high-concept, ridiculous premise that's quite fun. A government project cloned serial killers to try to create a group of killers they could use. Some boys were treated normally, others were abused. Nature versus nurture put to the test. I recently heard someone say that most mad scientists in stories are actually mad engineers. Well, this is definitely a mad scientist - he's got some hypothesis. And Jeff Jacobson just discovered that he's the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer and his dad is, well, a mad scientist.

(Side note: It is hilarious that Jeff insists that unlike most teens he knows exactly what his dad does, that his dad is a scientist. Like there's only one kind of scientist.)

I was partially drawn to this novel because I'm still reeling from Derf Backderf's MY FRIEND DAHMER. The other part of me loves mad science and thrillers where two unlikely partners must join forces to save the day. Girard definitely kept the pages turning, which is exactly what this book needs. I thought some events where too glossed over. I think that's because they're expanded on in CAIN'S BLOOD. But this is a surprisingly internal read. Even the dialogue is rendered without quotes, the form implying the words are how Jeff perceives them, rather than a faithful copy of the speech.

Jeff, indeed, has much to process. At time his angst over possibly being a killer made me laugh, but that's because Jeff is a bit of a weenie. From the outside, it's easy to tell that he's not going to become a killer. Also, at first his narration is quite tiresome. Everything is SAID like "this" for emphasis. I don't think there was a page without caps, scare quotes, and italics for quite awhile. Luckily, the overdramatic grammar starts backing off to let the words carry the emotion. There are still all caps and such, but less of them.

But I did like Jeff. He's numb from the shock and all the weird things happening, but he's also determined to be helpful. He teams up with Shawn Castillo, the secret ops guy sent to find the missing six boys. He keeps digging though his own head for clues, desperate to be useful and liked, like a kicked puppy. He's sweet.

PROJECT CAIN contains several infodumps, but I didn't mind them too much because the material is fascinating, if horrifying. This is a thriller, but it leans strongly towards horror, particularly in the end. (I did appreciate Girard's discretion during certain scenes.) It's not the smoothest novel, but it's ambitious and memorable. It definitely got under my skin while I was reading it.

PROJECT CAIN will appeal to fans of Barry Lyga's I HUNT KILLERS, as well as dystopian fans tired of the future and looking for something in the here and now. I do recommend pairing it with some nonfiction such as MY FRIEND DAHMER.
Profile Image for Tammy.
816 reviews135 followers
August 16, 2013
In a word: A creepy mystery that will keep you guessing, a main character with a totally unique voice, filled with true (?) facts about serial killers, cloning and government conspiracies, and yes, you might have nightmares…

Ted Bundy. Richard Ramirez. Jeffrey Dahmer. Jack the Ripper. These horrifyingly familiar characters and others like them are all in Project Cain. Sort of. Actually, clones of these and other serial killers are the characters in Girard’s young adult debut, a decidedly creepy story filled with a slowly unraveling mystery that will keep you turning pages as fast as you can. I sort of knew what Project Cain was about before I started reading, but the reality was much more than I expected—in a good way. Girard’s stylistic storytelling may not be for everyone, but it gives this disturbing and dread-filled tale an immediacy that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go until the end.

Jeff Jacobson is sixteen when his father gives him some bad news: he is actually a clone of the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and he’s part of a secret government project that clones serial killers with plans to use them as diabolical weapons. His father disappears after delivering this message, and shortly after a stranger named Castillo bursts into Jeff’s house and more or less kidnaps him, telling him that twelve of his friends from the Massey Institute are dead—and Jeff might be next.

Castillo and the reluctant Jeff embark on a nightmarish road trip to locate six boys from Massey, also serial killer clones, who are missing and presumed responsible for the killings. But how does Jeff’s dad fit into all this? And who exactly is Castillo, and can Jeff trust him? There are all sorts of questions, and the answers don’t come easily. Girard’s tale is filled with twists and turns, and a good dose of government conspiracy theory as well.

As each mystery is solved and each puzzle piece drops into place, Jeff becomes more and more uncertain about his place in the world. Did the government create him for evil? Or can he break free and live a different kind of life? If only he can live long enough to find out! After all, a bunch of his fellow clones are after him, and the government might be too.

Jeff tells his story in first person without any traditional dialog, which is unusual and takes some getting used to. But his voice is so distinctive that once you begin reading you can’t imagine it written any other way. In fact, although I'm not into them at all, I think this book would make an excellent audio book, because of this unique style. The narrative is very linear, so the reader figures everything out right along with Jeff.

One of the themes of the story is the old argument of “nature versus nurture,” and Girard gives us a lot to think about. If a child is raised in a safe and loving environment, even if he is the clone of a vicious killer, will he grow up to be a killer as well, or will “nuture” win in the end? Jeff has been raised just this way, with a father who loves him (or so he believes) and gives him every opportunity to grow up into a well-adjusted adult. So when his father leaves, Jeff is devastated and will do anything to find him. This quality made Jeff a likable character for me, even if bad blood runs in his veins.

The character of Castillo is one of the biggest mysteries, and you’re never really sure about him. On one hand he seems to want to protect Jeff, but at times his actions felt sneaky and untrustworthy. What I did enjoy was the relationship that grew between Castillo and Jeff. This book doesn't have your typical teen romance, so if you’re looking for that, you’ll be disappointed. What it does have is an uncommon friendship between two characters who don't know whether or not to trust each other; but because circumstances have thrown them together, they really don't have any other choice.

Girard does something else unusual in this book. He sprinkles in facts about serial killers, government secrets and cloning whenever Jeff wants to make an important point. This sort of description could have brought the action to a screeching halt, but in my opinion it made the danger of Jeff’s situation all the more real. The author also includes photos of famous serial killers, an eerie reminder that these people were (and in some cases are) indeed real. There’s nothing more disturbing than staring into the eyes of a crazy person!

Like all good mysteries, the author throws in a few misleads and leaves the reader wondering what exactly the truth is. My heart was racing by the end of the story, both from fear and from exhaustion. Like all good stories, Project Cain will make you think, and possibly question some of what you believe in. And you might want to leave the lights on next time you go to sleep…

Many thanks to the author for supplying a review copy.

This review originally appeared on Books,Bones & Buffy.
Profile Image for Paul Lunger.
943 reviews4 followers
July 24, 2013
Geoffrey Girard's "Project Cain" is not your typical teen fiction novel nor is it a book I'd recommend for certain teens themselves due to topic. This is the story of 16 year old Jeff Jacobson whose life is thrown upside down when he discovers that he's really only 8 years old & is the product of Project Cain a secret government project that takes DNA from serial killers (in his case Jeffrey Dahmer) & clones them in order to turn them into weapons. When Jeff's father leaves him, he eventually ends up being partnered with a guy named Castillo who tries to solve a rash of murders that have been happening by these clones & also unravel exactly what DSTI (the organization his father was associated with) was doing & why in order to prevent the clones from causing mass murders liked their original incarnations.

Girard's book is spellbinding to the point where it draws you in & forces you to keep reading as we the reader understand the depths that people would go to keep this secret & to understand exactly what it must be like for Jeff to realize who he really is. The violence at times in the book may be a bit graphic for some readers but is almost a necessity as he describes the acts these cloned killers have caused as well as the tracking of them down. The characters are also so realistic & the story is so believable that if this weren't a work of fiction you'd almost think it's based on fact especially with the references to other government secret projects.

Overall, a spellbinding book that probably belongs in the adult fiction category rather than young adult due to content & violence, but this is still a book that once you start reading that will be hard to put down after it releases in September 2013.
Profile Image for Dana Gill-Brown.
20 reviews3 followers
August 22, 2013
I am a horrible reviewer BUT I do work for a local bookstore and received this book as an ARC. I loved Project Cain and was shocked by it as well. I think that although it will not appeal to some it will appeal to the masses of boys who need books to read. It reminds me of Patterson and I also believe that if you put this book in a boys hand he sure as hell isn't going to run out and rape and kill someone. I think alot of people are put off with the idea of boys/men as being created (down to the their dna) in the likeness of serial killers. I at first was sorta of shocked and am still trying to figure out how to sell it without offending an old biddy of a mom or dad who may become offended because of the books contents. Mind you nothing in this book is any worse than your average James Patterson or even old school Stephen King (which IMHO are perfectly fine for the ya section). IMHO parents should have no right to decide what their kids read EVER. IMHO parents who hover and hope to have their kids turn out like them by influencing everything in the children's world hurts a child more than reading a scary book would. (For anyone who wants to be BITCHY and say will you don't have kids or some stupid comment like that I have 2 one a boy who is 7 and a girl who is 9.) She would love this book and I plan on letting her borrow it whenever he little hearts desire.
Profile Image for Iisa Kosonen.
9 reviews4 followers
October 17, 2014
I finished this book literally in 3 days.
By reading the cover, you might get the impression of a young-adult themed book. In reality, it's much more.
I feel like this story had some type of deep meaning behind all the characters and settings etc. By reading this book, I've suddenly become aware of all the problems and secrets what the government might be hiding. Even tough all the theories and strategies in this book aren't real, I feel like they could be. Since I'm also interested in history and psychology, I feel like this book provided me both of them.
But, I must remind you, this is still targeted for young adults/ adults so the text is not "full" of psychology and is an interesting experience. I also loved the way the characters developed and the way "horror" was represented in this piece.

Profile Image for Ashley.
499 reviews85 followers
April 4, 2014
Original Review Posted Here:http://firestarbooks.blogspot.ca/2013...

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing this ARC for review. :)

First off, I want to say that I didn't know that there was this whole author/blogger drama with this book. And my rating towards this book have nothing to do with the drama that went on. I only found out about the drama after I decided on the rating and saw other's ratings and found out.

I was very excited to receive this book from S&S Canada. Who didn't liked a book involving serial killers and cloning?! And wow, the cover was GORGEOUS! Everything about this book attracted me. When I started reading the first 10 pages I was like "WOW! This book is great! The plot moves so fast and everything is so intense!" I was super happy to see this book doing well. I always enjoyed a fast opener for books. Then there were also amazing pictures and drawings in the book.
Look at the details of the picture! It is awesome! Plus I got an ARC so I was surprised to see the actual drawings in them.
There were also codes.

Everything was sailing and then the fire nation attacked the boring, six year old writing came. Okay, let me explain. It wasn't as if the writing just suddenly became a child's writing. It was me realizing the writing style did not work! There were no conversations whatsoever in this book. It was just Jeff thinking and explaining.

This is a quote taken from the ARC:
"Castillo noted that Ox didn't seem too surprised by any of this, and Ox replied that nothing had surprised him since he was four, and then he teased Castillo for still being puzzled by such things." ~Pg 121

It sounds like a six year old listing what he did today at school. "So first I played in the sandbox. It was fun." Seriously, the book was dull and lifeless. The story moved so slow. There was no action, no suspense, no anything. For 1/3 of the book it basically was talking about the first 2 paragraphs of the synopsis. It just killed all the suspense. The narrative, like I said, was boring. If this was an audiobook, I can almost imagine the narrator trying so very hard not to yawn.

Also the book repeated stuff that was obvious such as "I discovered they'd taken all the computers and all my dad's office files. The ones from his MAIN office, not from the secret room. (Turns out they hadn't found the secret room and didn't even know it was there.)" ~Pg 21-22 from ARC. Ummm....DUH!!!

And Jeff as a character was a whiny bitch. He didn't do much and when he actually did stuff, it was stupid. He constantly thought about "I'm a monster, freak" blah blah blah. I wouldn't mind that if the book actually had a plot and went somewhere but literally the book had been pacing around square one for half of the book.

And Castillo was also boring. Just imagine John Casey from Chuck. But Casey was cute and funny in his dumb way of being a soldier (plus there were Morgan and Chuck to get the best of him out). Castillo here was just a BORE! He was so blank!

I'm sorry I didn't finish the book. I just couldn't finish it. I read more than 50% of it. I know it was given to me for review but I'm sorry.
Profile Image for Kate Quinn.
Author 26 books557 followers
October 7, 2013
This book got into my head. The way that facts (like stuff about Mendel and actual serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer) are seamlessly woven into the fiction (like serial killers being cloned by the government. at least I'm pretty sure this part is fiction. cause the govt would never do anything like that, right? right?) had me totally freaked out and wanting to put the book down to do some fact-checking via Google and Wikipedia (cause those sources are always correct, right?), but instead of rushing to the internet I kept turning pages, because I HAD TO KNOW what happened.

So now I really really want to read the adult version of this story (CAIN'S BLOOD) but I am a huge chicken and am afraid that my central nervous system would not be able to take getting that freaked out. Still it is very very tempting...
Profile Image for Thea.
121 reviews7 followers
November 14, 2013
Holy cow. Any book that can make me sympathize, care for, and love a clone of Jeffery Dahmer is a God in my book. Geoffry Girard is a God.

The characters are amazing and perfect. My favourite line in the entire book, summing up the book perfectly (in my mind): "Those monsters will never harm you again." -- Castillo. Brilliant.

The only thing I'm not sure about is how Castillo escaped? I wonder if this will be solved in Cain's Blood.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Shara.
56 reviews1 follower
February 26, 2013
Simply incredible. Perfect for Conspiracy Theorists. You cannot put this down. It's raw and believable and horrifying and so altogether plausible.
Profile Image for sleepy.
160 reviews64 followers
Shelved as 'uhhh-nope'
May 10, 2013

You think I'm gonna read this book??

It is the readers that will make or break your possible success, Mr. Girard.

You just lost a potential reader and my respect for you.
Profile Image for Kimberley doruyter.
813 reviews92 followers
April 28, 2016
the big word of this book is creepy.
but good, i thick i might even get cain's blood.
just to have more of the creepy good.
Profile Image for Ashh.
8 reviews2 followers
February 11, 2014
Update: I had to change my rating to 1 star. I thought 2 stars was being too generous. Well maybe not. Fine 1.5 stars... I guess I was expecting a lot more from the book and that's why I'm so critical.

Jeff Jacobson is a sixteen year old living a 'relatively' normal life when he finds out that he is a clone of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. To his surprise he finds out that there are other clones (like him) but of other serial killers around the country.

Sounds like an interesting read right? I thought so too, that's why I bought it without thinking twice. (And recommended it to people without having read it). Don't get me wrong, it was an semi-interesting read, however I do have my complaints.

Firstly, every so often a word would be CAPITALIZED (I guess to show some sort of EMPHASIS). I don't know about any of you, but whenever I see a word that is completely capitalized, I YELL in my head. Not too fun.

Also there were numerous instances throughout the novel that read something like "I didn't know it at the time, but..." which in my opinion ruined what was going to happen later on the story. I get it, foreshadowing. Exciting stuff. Just not when you overuse it. I swear every time I read something like this it made me want to pull my hair out. It got to a point where I really didn't have to finish the book because the ending was given away throughout the novel.

I really wanted this to be a five-star read. It's why I didn't abandon the novel half way through. I thought that maybe, just maybe, there might be a surprise ending that makes up for everything. Unfortunately this did not happen.

Despite the fact that the idea of the novel sounds fascinating, unfortunately the writing style used to convey the story was a complete letdown. It's funny, I never thought I'd be so critical of a novel's writing style. Guess there's a first for everything. Maybe I would like it more if it were written a different way/better.

Would I recommend this book to someone after reading it? Probably not. (My apologies to those I've already recommended it to, and especially to those who already bought it. I'm a terrible human being.). They'll probably have a better time reading nonfiction books on serial killers and cloning.

Overall opinion: disappointed

Profile Image for T.M. Smith.
Author 28 books310 followers
October 20, 2013
Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jack the Ripper and Jeffrey Dahmer. Recognize these names? They all make an appearance in Project Cain, in a round about way.

Jeff Jacobson's life is about to be turned upside down. He goes from being a somewhat normal teenager with a stable home life to fatherless and on the run from the men in the suits that want to kill him in a matter of hours. His father shares a secret with him. He is in fact only 8 years old and the clone of the noted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. His father, who is not actually his father, works for an organization known as DSTI. They have been manipulating the DNA of noted serial killers and creating clones, this project is known as 'Project Cain'.

Jeff's father leaves him with this knowledge, a wad of cash and a folder on Jeffrey Dahmer, his creator. Throughout the book Jeff struggles with his identity. Is he truly just a clone of one of the most evil men to ever walk the planet? Or is he the master of his own destiny. Can he control the visions and urges he has rooted within him? Or will he become something dark and dangerous just like his "father", Jeffrey Dahmer.

While a lot of the clones were killed at the same time Jeff learned the truth, several of them have escaped and are now on a killing spree. Jeff ends up with Castillo, a shady character that seems to know a lot about Jeff, DSTI and Project Cain. As the story progresses and these two unlikely partners try to stop the other clones from starting a mass genocide on the general populous, Jeff learns he shares a connection with the others. This connection could help them stop the clones and the killing, but it could also turn Jeff into the one thing he doesn't want to become, the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer.

Project Cain was very dark and sadistic, but it was also extremely engrossing. The reality of the subject matter and me being able to believe that our government could (and may well have already) done what they did in this book with 'Project Cain' left me in a cold sweat. Told completely from young Jeff's POV the reader is trapped in his mind while he struggles with the person he wants to be, and the reality of the evil that is engrained in his DNA.

The formatting of the wording throughout the book threw me off a little, and the EMPHASIS on capitalizing words was a little too much. There came a point as well in the story where it was two steps forward, and three steps back one time too many. That being said, overall I really liked this book. It's a nail biting, dark and violent story that will have you wondering which side Jeff will end up on in the end.
Profile Image for Pam.
916 reviews40 followers
October 27, 2013
Jeff Jacobson thought he was an ordinary kid. That is until his father hands him a file about Jeffrey Dahmer and lets him know he isn't his son and he was created in a lab. He is part of Project Cain and made of Jeffrey Dahmer's DNA. He isn't alone there is many kids made of different serial killers DNA and now they have been turned loose by the man he thought was his father. While some where raised in nice families the other 'projects' were sent to live with families similar to what the original serial killers had. There is a killing spree going on and Jeff maybe the only way to find them before they strike again. He is afraid of turning into a killer his self and knows he has to hurry.

Jeff is a smart kid who thought he was normal. He now struggles with knowing he has evil inside him. He doesn't know who to trust and what to do. He is a great character because through his eyes you see both sides of evil and how much a struggle he has walking the line of being good. His really has had his whole world turned upside down and even he isn't safe from the bad people. I really felt sorry for him and liked the character.

This book has a wonderful description about the book but it doesn't prepare you for the fascinating world you are about to dive into. The author does such an amazing job with this book you feel you are in the world with these killers. You get to see some of the things several of these killers did and I love that you can tell the author researched this subject when he wrote the book. That makes a big difference in the reading. From the first page you get drawn into the character of Jeff. You see him struggle and have it really bad at times. He uses his head and does what he thinks is right. At times you can see him slipping and it makes it that much better of a book. The idea of this book chilled me because it seems like something that could honestly happen. There is several hard scenes that will make your skin crawl but the author does a good job keeping it from going to far. If you want an amazing book that will stay with you and in a way have you rooting for a bad guy pick this up.
Profile Image for Devann.
2,433 reviews131 followers
April 16, 2019
actual rating: 2.5

I really just don't know what to say about this book. If you asked me whether or not it was a good book I would probably have to go with 'no'. But if you asked me whether or not I liked it my answer would probably be 'yes'. Sooo ... ???

The premise is both interesting and moronic at the same time. Like believe me I'm no fan of the US government or military, but why would you spend billions of dollars cloning serial killers when you literally have thousands of people just signing up to kill people of their own free will. No, not everyone who joins the army just wants to kill people, but there are some definite 'bad eggs' there and it seems like it would make a lot more sense to just regular mind altering drugs on these people than to go to all this trouble. Also the whole ~murder gene~ thing was obviously complete bullshit, but as the book went on I think that was kind of supposed to be the point so I guess I will let that slide.

Still, it was a surprisingly easy read considering the subject matter. It touched on a lot of the topics I was hoping that it would, but was also surprisingly light on the gore [something I personally appreciated since a lot of these serial killers are rapists as well as murderers]. I ended up really liking Jeff and I think the ending was satisfying and also fixed a lot of the issues I had with some of the things that were being spouted early on in the book. I don't think I would read the adult companion novel from Castillo's POV, but I feel like the story might have been told better in just one book with alternating POVs. I think it was really obvious in this book where the narratives would differ [Jeff spends a lot of time projecting thoughts onto Castillo's behavior] and it just seemed a bit sloppy.

Also I just have to say, I saw a summary or review somewhere that said the story was 'told with a distinct lack of dialogue' or something similar and that is just bullshit. Just because you don't put your dialogue in quotations doesn't mean it's not dialogue. Try again.
Profile Image for Sarah .
146 reviews22 followers
February 13, 2014
This review can also be found here

Let's start off by reading the description shall we? Sounds amazing right? That was the same thought I had when I first read it. Starting the book however I quickly realized that wouldn't be the case. I had to pretty much force myself to even finish this book despite my love for serial killer related things.

The info-dumping was a huge turn off for me. It was pile upon pile of information just shoved at you and some of it I really didn't think mattered too much, case in point there was a whole section where Jeff talks about the likes and dislikes of a man. And then when the information wasn't be thrown at you Jeff had very little clue about anything. Stuff about his dad? No clue. The laboratory? No clue. Nothing at all. It was frustrating and really made the story hard to get through and choppy.

I disliked Jeff. I really did, for a Jeffrey Dahmer clone you'd think he wouldn't be so boring right? Wrong. I had absolutely no connection to him besides the fact that he liked to read. He was of no use to Castillo for the first half of the book and just kept wondering why his dad wouldn't talk to him while there were serial killer clones running around murdering families. The only two who made the book somewhat interesting were Castillo and Ox. They had all of these conspiracies about the government and what was going on.

This book had so much potential but just seemed like a watered down version of Criminal Minds for me. I was expecting awesome serial killers and gore and violence but there wasn't much of anything. It seemed to mostly revolve around Jeff not knowing much of anything and Castillo trying to catch the clones.
761 reviews76 followers
September 14, 2013
Received as an ARC from the publisher. It also came with the upside-down reverse copy of the companion book Cain's Blood. Started it on 9-10-13. Finished it on 9-13-13. Liked this one. It's for YA but us old folk like it too. Government/military agency clones serial killers and then rears the boys in different environments to test nature vs nurture. Everyone from Ted Bundy to Jeffrey Dahmer; that last one well known in my area. This book is told from the standpoint of one of Dahmer's clones. Interesting writing technique----not a quotation mark in sight. Left open for a sequel. Now on to Cain's Blood--the story of the project itself. Both books all too creepy and possible.
Profile Image for Krystl Louwagie.
1,333 reviews14 followers
September 27, 2014
I wanted a little more from this book, but even that is a bit of a good sign. It was good enough that I wanted it to be just a bit more-some of the fact that it was written for young adults limited the content. Dahmer, was, of course, not simply beaten to death with a broom in prison, as most of us know. I wonder what other details were lost on trying to keep it "cleaner". Although at the end of the book it does advertise an adult book through the eyes of another character, which will definitely be worth checking out.
But this was a fascinating read, and the voice of it was actually pretty humorous, too, without being annoying about it, and clearly had enough serious points to it, too.
Profile Image for Kim.
1,368 reviews23 followers
December 11, 2013
Jeff Jacobson and his widowed scientist dad live a pretty normal middle-class life... until the evening that his dad shatters his world by telling him that nothing about his life to this point is true. While Jeff has always believed his mother was killed in the same car accident that sent him into a coma and rendered his early memories fuzzy at best, his father tells him that this was a convenient backstory. Jeff isn't actually 16 years old, but is a clone who was developed in a lab 8 years ago as part of a US-military-condoned experiment that involves cloning serial killers and harvesting their genes for biological warfare. Jeff's DNA source? Jeffrey Dahmer. This scientist Jeff has known as his father then tells him he probably wants to stay away from DSTI-- the clone-creating agency-- and promptly disappears from Jeff's life. Friendless and alone, Jeff wanders his neighborhood after Dr. Jacobson walks out. When he returns to the house, Jeff realizes that DSTI henchmen are looking for him. He manages to avoid them, but is later discovered by Shawn Castillo, retired Army Delta Force soldier who now "consults" for the Department of Defense. Realizing that Dr. Jacobson has gone rogue and released some very dangerous serial-killer clones into society, the government has asked Castillo to round up the boys in question before the public gets wind of DoD approval of such a horrific scientific experiment. Castillo is not enthusiastic about having Jeff along, but comes to appreciate Jeff's help in decoding some of the clues that Dr. Jacobson left. As far-fetched as the premise initially seems, Girard cleverly weaves in abundant facts about actual serial killers and government cover-ups of biological warfare studies since World War II. Readers will be hard-pressed to separate reality from fiction, especially as Jeff repeatedly challenges his unseen audience to look up specific names on Google. Conspiracy theories abound in this roller-coaster-ride of a thriller. Barry Lyga fans will eat this up.
Profile Image for Josen.
293 reviews10 followers
January 27, 2016
4.5..........Human clones made from the DNA of serial killers. Now who wouldn't want to pick that up to read?

Jeff Jacobson was a 16-year old boy who was "made" only 8 years ago in a lab where he was constructed entirely from the DNA of Jeffrey Dahmer. He wasn't the only one. There were many more clones made with the same DNA and other serial killers and they were "born" at different ages. Each one had a different upbringing ranging from lab rats to ideal, loving homes to totally sick & twisted ones. All in the name of science. Nature vs, nurture. Are we born to be a bad person because of our genes? Or do we develop through nurture? ---Then of course there's the military aspect that uses this science to create killers for warfare. All that is just the basis for this story. You'll have to read the book to know what happens. :)

I really liked this book because it was definitely a page turner. Girard breaks up his paragraphs like a movie (...cut to scene...). A lot of times he would end the paragraphs with a one liner that of course made you want to read more. It also contained a lot of facts and pictures of serial killers and what they did (like a Dateline documentary) which I (weirdly) found interesting. Besides Dahmer there's also Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz (aka: Son of Sam), to name a few.

I thought this was very good and didn't realize it was a YA book. There's a companion adult thriller, Cain's Blood, which is from the perspective of another main character in this story. Luckily I already have it. :) Hopefully it will be just as good.
Profile Image for Halston Seabolt.
146 reviews8 followers
August 21, 2013
So when I found out that I had won this book from goodreads naturally I was excited. Its definitely something I don't usually read. I read a few reviews on Project Cain before I got it and was a little worried that I wasn't going to like it. I will say that some of them were right about the first part of this book being a information dump. The thing I was most surprised about was even though there was a lot of info it wasn't hard for me to keep reading it. It was definitely an interesting concept that Mr. Girard has come up with. Dealing with cloning the most famous serial killers and putting some of them in the home lives the original killers had and putting some in loving homes. All to see what would come of it. I also thought the canisters filled with a gas to make people rip each other and themselves apart was interesting. Like I said earlier very interesting themes in this book. I did get a little lost here and there because there were no quotation marks telling you who was speaking. Even though this was from one persons point of view I would of liked to see quotations around the speaking parts. Not that there were very many mind you. It was mostly this kid talking either to himself on in his head. This book wasn't awful, but it wasn't one of the best I've ever read either.
Profile Image for Andrea Judy.
Author 9 books10 followers
August 24, 2015
I almost put this down because I hate prologues and this book had a prologue and an introduction. I'm so glad I kept reading. While it took me a few chapters to really sink into the story, I found myself eventually sneaking the book under my desk at work to read between phone calls. The story is more graphic than I originally thought it would be and there are some gorey bits but the story itself is fast paced and tense.
The only thing I would have adjusted is the head hopping chapters, I really just wanted to stay with the two main characters (and maybe the head of one of the escapees they were hunting) instead of bouncing into various povs through the novel.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
662 reviews2,255 followers
Want to read
February 14, 2013
Hello Dark & Fabulous!

But really what scientist would want to create clones from famous serial killers DNA?!
Profile Image for Braiden.
359 reviews204 followers
Want to read
February 10, 2013
This is a book that I kind of KNOW I will enjoy immensely. It sounds right up my alley.
Profile Image for Wendy.
2,318 reviews40 followers
April 20, 2018
Imaginative and chillingly horrific “Project Cain” revolves around sixteen-year-old Jeff Jacobsen a boy raised by a scientist working on a cloning project for DSTI (Dynamic Solutions Technology Institute) who discovers after his father disappears that he’s a clone of an infamous serial killer created in a laboratory. The shocks continue for Jeff when Castillo a consultant for the Department of Defense breaks into the Jacobsen home enlightening him not only about the murders of clones and employees at the Massey Institute but of six missing boys, all replicas of serial killers.

With DSTI (Dynamic Solutions Technology Institute) on the way to collect his father’s materials and documents stored in a hidden room and fearing for his safety, Jeff quickly agrees to help Castillo track down the boys and his father. Together they begin a road trip, following a map of recent kills that they hope will lead them to the murderous clones and to a mysterious bioweapon they have within their possession.

In this scify thriller the government has been funding a top-secret program called Project Cain operating out of DSTI’s laboratory where clones are created from the DNA of known murderers like Jeffrey Dahlmer, the Son of Sam, the Boston Strangler, and Ted Bundy. Wanting to know whether a killer is shaped by nature or from his environment, some of the clones have been farmed out to families with instructions on how they are to be reared.

Narrated from Jeff’s perspective the plot heats up not only as he begins to have waking nightmares of a woman in black, the victims of Jeffrey Dahlmer’s murders, but also as he’s tracked by a special breed of killers replicated from multiple DNA strands and with an amplified violence gene. Intensity and suspense escalate not only as the murders increase but with the link to Shardhara and the scheme to unleash a biological weapon. Realistic with its scientific foundation and historical facts about infamous serial killers, the story twists and turns as it progresses to an explosive ending.

Jeff Jacobsen is the average, quiet and unassuming son of Dr. Gregory Jacobsen, a brilliant but mad scientist who thinks he’s the reincarnation of Jack the Ripper, using his clones to murder people, and with a devious plan to unleash a biotoxin weapon into the world. Shawn Castillo ex- Delta Force is tough, sarcastic but has heart turning Jeff away from killing someone in his defense. These characters and others bring the story to life, infusing it with depth, high-energy and excitement.

Well-written and innovative in its conception I liked “Project Cain” and can attest that it’s a spinetingling page-turner from beginning to end.
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