The Killings Begin (Spectrum Series: Book 1) by Bradley Pay

Publisher: Bradley Pay

Date of Publication: June 25th, 2022

Genre: Thriller, Romance, General Fiction

Series: Spectrum Series

The Killings Begin—Book 1

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | IndieBound | Better World Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

Immerse yourself in complex romance and suspenseful serial-killer psychology that bend and break all expectations. Weaving together two innovative plots and completely unforgettable characters, The Killings Begin stands out as one of the last century’s most creative takes on storytelling. Don’t miss this thrilling debut to the Spectrum Series!

Gia Delgado flips her life upside down when she escapes from her arranged marriage and moves to Madrid. Finally, she can live the life she wants… if only it were that easy. When she realizes the lifestyle she craves is just out of reach, she enters into a contract with three complicated men. In exchange for an apartment and stipend, she’ll pretend to be their “no strings” wife, whether they want to display her in public or lead her to the bedroom. There are vital rules, though: They are all bound to secrecy, and no one is allowed to fall in love.

If you think you know what comes next, excuse me… you’re wrong.

Gia doesn’t know it yet, but someone sinister is destined to tear her life to shreds. From the outside, Tracey Lauch looks like the adopted son of a perfect high-society family. Who wouldn’t trust him? He works in the justice system, sits on his family’s art museum board, and even establishes a foster home to keep siblings together. These appearances mean nothing. As he tries to cope with his abandonment trauma, a reconnection to his past triggers him, and he loses control with deadly consequences. Now a serial killer, Tracey panics. Fleeing to Europe, he hopes that a change of venue will quell his murderous desires. Can he heal his past, or will his anger and pain enslave him forever?

Dive into an unpredictable world of secrets, murder, and psychological thrills unlike any other.

The Killings Begin was previously published as Murder in Zaporozhye.


First Line:

Tracey watched the family gathered under the canopy of new leaves and flowers on the red maple trees.

The Killings Begin by Bradley Pay

When I got the publisher’s request to review The Killings Begin, I was immediately interested. The blurb called to me. But, I almost didn’t accept the invite to review because I was going on vacation and didn’t believe that I could get to the book in a timely fashion. But something kept calling me (the publisher kept emailing me for an answer), and I decided to review. I am glad I did because this book was a fantastic read.

The Killings Begin had dual plotlines. One plotline follows Gia as she flees an arranged marriage and enters into an unconventional relationship with three men in Madrid, Spain. The other follows Tracey, a respected judge in Raleigh, as he struggles to keep his serial killer lifestyle separate from his “normal” lifestyle. Gia and Tracey’s worlds collide when they meet on a Spectrum cruise. What happens on that cruise will forever shape Gia and Tracey’s life.

What I liked the most about this book was that the authors didn’t hide anything. Right from the beginning, I knew Tracey was a serial killer and that Gia lived an alternative lifestyle (polyamorous). Instead, the author focused on Gia and Tracey as individuals, which I enjoyed. I learned about their motives (or, in Tracey’s case, triggers) for their choices and how those choices affected them.

I liked Gia. She had a great outlook on life, and she cherished her friendships. My only issue is that she didn’t end her contract with Sal sooner. I understood why she didn’t do it (loving an addict is hard), but in the end, she was forced to. I also loved how supportive she was of her friends. Overall, she was a lovely person.

I thought Tracey was a fascinating character and wished the authors dedicated more book time to him. I was fascinated by how he turned into a serial killer and his reasons. That scene with his mother explained everything. He was remorseful and horrified at what he was doing, and escaping to Europe was supposed to be a reset for him. I knew that it wouldn’t be and was eager to see when he would get triggered into killing. What I wasn’t expecting was who it was.

For 90% of the book, I wondered when Tracey and Gia’s storylines would meet up. When they did, it was a little anti-climatic for me. That is my only major complaint about the book.

The thriller angle of the book was well written. The authors did a good job keeping me guessing at what was going to happen next with both Gia and Tracey.

The end of The Killings Begin was interesting. The authors did wrap up most of the storylines (giving happy endings to Raul and Joseph) but left the other storylines open. But, there was also a teaser with Tracey’s frame of mind at the very end that I couldn’t help but think about after I finished the book. That has made me very curious and excited to read book 2!!

I would recommend The Killings Begin to anyone over 21. There is sex, language, and violence.

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