Ubik's Reviews > Duncan's Diary: Birth of a Serial Killer

Duncan's Diary by Christopher C. Payne
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's review
Aug 14, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: own
Read from September 23 to 27, 2010 — I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** So....all done. I got to page 9 the first time and then proceeded to finish the rest all in one sitting. I must say that I was really hoping that he would be caught in the end not just for the fact that he was a despicable human being, but moreso because he was just so STUPID -- completely inept. Ive been studying serial killers for years and years now and the whole time Im reading this, Im thinking "he should have done this", "he shouldnt have left this behind" et al. This isnt to say that I was rooting him on either, but Im just saying that in the perspective of "this is what a smart serial killer should do". Of course in reality, I would only hope that all serial killers would be this stupid for they would get caught a lot sooner and be off the streets, but you get what I mean at any rate.

Overall I found the book to be a really good read -- a great insight into a fledgling serial killer. I believe the emotional state behind what he did was pretty on target with how I would think most killers would think at any given moment throughout their "career".

I was disappointed when it came to neither agent really acting on their obvious lead. Maybe this is just to show an example of just how inept law enforcement can be. If so, then the author did a great job, and that is what I would rather believe, but I just cant fathom how someone can be so extremely stupid about their crimes and really get away with it like that. In the last scene, the door had to have remained open when Sudhir came in and witnessed his very last image so its hard to believe that no one would have noticed it (silencer or not). And why there was no follow-up between the obvious Volvo involvement in both the missing girl cases leaves me scratching my head....if it was a Camry or an Accord maybe I could understand, but a green Volvo SUV? Granted its a rich area of CA which I took into consideration, but it still doesnt jive with me that that lead wasnt followed up on.

None of this so far is an attack on the author as Ive read enough true crime in my life to know just how inept both the cats and the mice can be, but *since* I read so much NON-fiction involving serial killers Im hardened in that sense so I have to make my complaints known.

I actually cried when Sudhir died. I really fell in love with his character. Obviously some of it out of pity, but I really did think he was a good person and the last thing I would have wished burned into his retinas was the image he saw. Poor man.

One other complaint I have is on page 51 where Sudhir calls the cell phone number and Duncan answers.... Certainly if theyve known each other since they were kids, Duncan would know his friend's last name, and certainly reversely, Sudhir would recognise his friend's voice. Granted, this might not be immediate from either side seeing as it happened fast and unexpectedly, but especially for Sudhir, after having seen his friend's name come up on the list of Volvo owners, it might have rung a bell... Same goes for Duncan realizing that one of his best friends (if not THE best friend) is a COP and that he also knows a guy from the FBI!!! Wow. That takes just the right mix of balls, stupidity, and luck right there.

The only other real attack at the author other than the above: the errors!!!!! Yes, Im a grammar nazi and yes, quite a few books have their fair share of typos and furthers instead of farthers and would ofs instead of would haves (Im looking straight at you Jonathan Lethem on the latter example!), but on page 238 2nd paragraph, I about shit myself when I saw, instead of relegated, regulated (in reference to being kinda forced to go to the strip club at their more peak hours). Also, the reference to American Beauty quoted it as having been a paper bag when it was indeed a plastic bag. Finally (as far as the glaring errors) on page 121, Hannah was suddenly referred to as having three kids when she only had two. Its possible the author meant three including Hannah, but then the sentence doesnt play out the same as it would seem it was intended. There were many many other random small ones each taking me out of the moment each time, but those are the biggies right there. Someone else mentioned condemns instead of condoms, but for some reason that one slipped past me...

I know it appears as though Ive complained about it more than praised it, but thats the kind of nitpicky person I am. I really did like the book overall and I would recommend it to people for sure. If theyre grammar nazis like myself I might warn them about the errors, but thats about the extent of it. Overall 3.5 stars really, but I went with three. Granted I felt kinda rushed to write this because I won it and wanted to make sure I got some words out there. Sometimes my opinion changes slightly (or even drastically) when more time has passed. If that turns out to be the case, I will edit this review.

Kudos, Christopher for making a fine book. I will be looking out for your next work regardless of how harsh I may have seemed to come off. And, of course, thank you for sending it to me (won through Goodreads).

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Reading Progress

09/23/2010 page 9
3.0% "Won this through the Goodreads promotion. It arrived the other day and I cracked it open this afternoon. So far, so good. It really jumps into the gory details right off the bat. Its only going to get more hellacious from there. Im sure I will savor every grisly moment as with Bret Easton Ellis' disturbing depictions."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Christopher Payne I think I need to add you to the read in advance before publishing list.

Are you up for it.

My next book is actually a Duncan sequel which I am hopefully going to start writing next week.

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