Book Sharing – “I Am Death” by Chris Carter

“I Am Death” by Chris Carter, e-book

“Oh, thank you so much for coming in at such short notice, Nicole,’ Audrey Bennett said, opening the front door to her white-fronted, two-storey house in Upper Laurel Canyon, a very affluent neighborhood located in the Hollywood Hills region of Los Angeles.” – Starting line from I Am Death, Chris Carter

The seventh book in the series, Chris Carter adheres to the cardinal rule of “writing what you know” and plots his murder in the setting he knows best – Los Angeles. Although the series follows a homicide detective Robert Hunter and sometimes makes references to the book prior to the story, they are all standalones which can be read out of order if you so wish to.

The story begins with a kidnapping and naturally, as advertised in the title, ends with a gruesome death awaiting Robert Hunter and his partner, Carlos Garcia, to solve. And time is running out as one dead body appears after another, all equally gruesome, mounting pressure on the detectives to catch the perpetrator as the psychotic killer taunts the homicide detectives with the cryptic message “I am death” at each scene.

The novel is quite a standard length but because of the quick pace and the hooks which promise further illumination to the investigation, the novel can be read in a relatively short time. Interestingly, the short chapters also serve as a natural bookmark, allowing a reader to return to the story at ease. Even the switch from one point of view to another is well handled, setting up the stage for the story to develop further.

What sets Chris Carter apart from other detective stories is, he does not resort to clever but obscure deductions that are too farfetched. Instead, Carter makes use of his expertise in criminal psychology and his wealth of research from interviews with criminals to scaffold the thriller. This provides an interesting take to the detective story as readers are exposed to the psychological state driving the killer to commit such unspeakable and violent murders.

No doubt, the violence possibly far exceeds expectations but surprisingly, I have to say, Carter tones down the violence in this book. Even the almighty prowess of the protagonist, Robert Hunter, appears to be diminished as Carter presents an interesting premise to the reader, “Can a sociopath serial killer be nurtured under the right circumstances?” With this question in mind, a reader is not just reading the unravelling of mystery but also the motivation driving the story.

Naturally, this invitation is reflected in the starting line, when a posh lady welcomes the victim, and by extension the reader, in. Death is often painted with a beautiful and exalted exterior, but often, one forgets the horrid and gruesome aspect. This novel would certainly remind the reader so.

Coronaviral Adventures #12

Badge of Honour, Tien (2020)

While I get unexplained bruises, I don’t really bruise that easily. This is, by far, the biggest badge of honour I received from a blood donation. Luckily, drug abuse by injection is not that common in Singapore, although I really wonder what people’s reaction is if they see such a huge bruise. And there is this sense of solidarity at the blood donation centre, when I see some familar faces, either donors or medical workers thanking each other despite the pandemic we are going through.

But the biggest adventure is probably the bus ride. For a small city-state which the local populace depend mostly on public transport for commute, you have no idea how exciting it is to see a relative empty bus. I finally got a chance to sit alone throughout the entire ride – I don’t even have to worry about someone sitting next to me.

Thanks to safety distancing.

Covid-19, personal space ambassador…

How to Annoy Your Parents

Your Quick Guide of Tested and Proven Methods

OUR EXPERT HAS OVER 30 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE. DON’T MISS THIS CHANCE AS HE SHARES THE SECRETS OF HIS SUCCESS!
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Trial Lesson #1: Watch your language
“No!”
“Huh?”
The most basic words to get on your parents’ nerves. Almost instinctual, these two words drive parents absolutely wild, especially as a response to their requests. The key is perseverance. If done in a consistent, frequent and obnoxious manner, it would eventually wear any parent down.

In order to use the word “No!” effectively, deliver the imperative in loud and high-pitch manner in the middle of their speech, as if it were an epithet. Another method, though less effective, is to repeat the word “No!” in one set of five reps. This, however, should be done in a softer and more resigned manner. For best results, shake your head as a gentle emphasis.

For maximum damage in the use of the word “Huh?” one should strive to use it roughly 5 to 6 seconds after a request is made, preferably with with a slack jaw expression and raised eyebrows. Then allow this moment to fossilise until your parents find it unbearable and start to make their request again. Repeat as necessarily, although it is advisable not to use it more than 3 consecutive times or on matters in which your abilities have been revealed.

Trial Lesson #2: Be Illogical
Early on in your career as a child, your parents would have definitely asked you “What do you want, dear – A or B?” It is therefore imperative that you must not fall into the trap of false choice but instead, go for an option “C”. However, it is not enough to go for any random option “C” – always work from the impossible before presenting the most viable option to your parents. Remember, you must dream big!

And never follow the crowd. Ignore your parents’ puzzled looks at your logic, like heating up food when you are hungry but leave your food to cool so you can eat it. Or loudly proclaim that you will not do something, then proceed to perform the task with such gusto they have no choice but to admire your commitment.

NEVER GIVE UP!

For more lessons, please sign up with us at http://www.whydidtheyputupwithus.org

First 50 sign ups will get a set of crayons to draw on the wall! Don’t miss this opportunity!


Haha, I’m an evil genius! Except for the genius part. In all honesty, this is too fun not to write.

Coronaviral Adventures #11

My father is a very brave man.

I mean, I’ve known him to be a brave man all these years but today, I really appreciate his courage at theatre front row seat mode. As usual, he was playing with his mobile phone when my mother called out to him, “The rice, I’ll take some and leave the rest for you, OK?”

And he replied “OK.”

I repeat, my father replied “OK.” Just like that. Without a second thought.

I can’t wait to see his face when he came to the dining table to find a huge bowl of rice waiting for him.

100 Word Wednesday: 148

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I adjust myself slightly but otherwise stay concealed, the camouflage still in perfect condition.

Three days of rain, shine, ghillie suit and combat rations.

The agency is furious about the state of matters and has ordered this mission. Yet the targets have not appeared.

My hands shake. Speak of the devil!

It seems the school board is having a meeting and the members are streaming in.

I hold myself in check.

The agency has ordered the assassination of four school board members. Any four.

This engineered attack will sink the school into anarchy.

I raise the rifle to my eyes…


If you are interested, the prompt is linked below.

How to participate? A few guidelines as we begin….

  1. Simply check my feed, or search the reader, for the 100WW or tag #100WW, post each Wednesday. I’ll also be posting on my InstagramTwitter, and Facebook Feeds.
  2. Write your submission on your blog, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook Feed and ping back to the weekly blog post. Feel free to use the image provided or your own. Please do credit the artist whose image we use — Links provided.
  3. I have not enabled automatic pingbacks due to a plethora of spam messages attempting to link up. Do feel free to also continue posting your links and I will enable your pingbacks as I check my blog. Thank you for understanding!!
  4. I’ll provide a Weekly Summary, or Windup, of posts on or by Tuesday; take the opportunity to read and comment on your fellow bloggers posts {keeping in mind to give each other grace and space}. I try to read them all and post your submission in the Weekly Windup.
  5. Have fun! I enjoy reading your challenge submissions!

Prompt: 100 Word Wednesday: 148

Coronaviral Adventures #10

This circuit breaker brings back a lot of childhood memories, especially of me helping my mother in the kitchen with cutting and chopping and stir-frying. And some things just never change.

How Others Present Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of _____
  • 1/2 teaspoon of _____
  • 500 grams of _____
  • and the blahs…

Steps

  1. Pre-heat pan to temperature of (whatever scale you’re using)
  2. Marinate (whatever shit) in (whatever seasoning)
  3. Slowly pour (whatever shit)
  4. Then (you get the idea…)
  5. Yadda yadda yadda

How My Mother Presents Recipes

Ingredients

  • Make sure the main ingredient is present (AKA check cabinet to ensure there is rice for baked rice or noodles for fried noodles 5 minutes before cooking)
  • What else is in the refrigerator?
  • Maybe this canned food before it expires?
  • Eh, you know, that thing which I cannot remember the name of…
  • Huh? What’s this?

Steps

  1. Always throws in garlic to saute
  2. Yells for someone to stir that shit before it gets burnt while preparing another ingredient
  3. Heat control (AKA turn off the fire when the phone rings in preparation of a long conversation)
  4. Stir-fry the vegetables but put them aside because forgot to stir-fry another ingredient in advance
  5. Checks refrigerator again because something seems to be missing
  6. Keeps saying “Don’t talk to me now, I’m busy”
  7. Makes last-minute decision to change dish because there is a missing ingredient
  8. Five minutes of mayhem and chaos ensue
  9. Ta-da, dish is magically ready

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #77

CCC#77

“Quaint.”

Daniel looked at his friend distastefully, as if the comment was an epithet. “Well, I happened to love this cottage,” he replied defensively.

“Sure you do, together with all the world class facilities you can find here. The surround sound system of fowl and cricket acoustics, together with free cleaners of the natural world. Insects.”

“You know, most of my friends are actually happy for me,” Daniel looked at Jack pointedly. “The allure of the nature and away from the hustle and bustle of the city.”

Jack rolled his eyes. “Well, I’m not most of your friends. I’m your best friend. And I know nature is not in your blood. You can’t even survive our three-day outdoor camp back in school days.”

They stood outside the cottage in silence. Then Jack broke the silence once more.

“C’mon, let’s go back. Running away isn’t the solution.”

Daniel sighed. “Yea, you’re probably right. As always.”

“Of course I’m right. You’re lucky you have such a wise man for best friend,” Jack puffed up his chest. “You should be down on your knees, praying to me.”

“Sure sure. I’ll do that at your grave. After I get acquitted for your murder.”

Jack smiled as his friend’s barbs as they walked back toward the car. It would seem that Daniel was ready to face his problems head on.


First all, I apologise for the world limit. It was way beyond the 150-word limit but I decided to leave the entire interaction intact instead of editing out the parts because I really like the flow of the conversation.

Also, I rarely have such chance to be so insulting and sarcastic in my stories.

Well, I have to let my loose foul mouth somewhere. LOL

If you are interested, the prompt is linked below.

Welcome to my weekly challenge—open to all—just for FUN, FUN, FUN

Here’s how it works:

Every Wednesday I post a photo (this week it’s that one above.)
You respond with something CREATIVE

Here are some suggestions:

  • An answering photo
  • A cartoon
  • A joke
  • A caption
  • An anecdote
  • A short story (flash fiction)
  • A poem
  • A newly minted proverb, adage or saying
  • An essay
  • A song—the lyrics or the performance

You have plenty of scope and only two criteria:

  • Your creative offering is indeed yours
  • Your writing is kept to 150 words or less

If you post a link in the comments section of this post I’ll be able to find it
If you include Crimson’s Creative Challenge as a heading, WP Search will find it (theory)
by ‘Searching’ in the WP Reader (fingers crossed)

Here’s wishing you inspirational explosions. And FUN.

Prompt: Crimson’s Creative Challenge #77

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #76

CCC#76

He lay out on the grass under the sun. It had been a while since he was able to enjoy himself like this. The New World was very different – too many people around, too little space and privacy.

He stretched himself and yawned widely.

And immediately froze.

“Look at that tree stump!” a boy shouted to his friend excitedly. “I wonder what is in it!”

“Let’s check it out!”

He winced slightly as the two boys poked around his open cavity. Then he gagged when they reached deep into him.

“Ah, a monster!” the boys frantically scrambled back. “Run!”

Time to move, he guessed. At least it was good when it lasted.


If you are interested, the prompt is linked below.

Welcome to my weekly challenge—open to all—just for FUN, FUN, FUN

Here’s how it works:

Every Wednesday I post a photo (this week it’s that one above.)
You respond with something CREATIVE

Here are some suggestions:

  • An answering photo
  • A cartoon
  • A joke
  • A caption
  • An anecdote
  • A short story (flash fiction)
  • A poem
  • A newly minted proverb, adage or saying
  • An essay
  • A song—the lyrics or the performance

You have plenty of scope and only two criteria:

  • Your creative offering is indeed yours
  • Your writing is kept to 150 words or less

If you post a link in the comments section of this post I’ll be able to find it
If you include Crimson’s Creative Challenge as a heading, WP Search will find it (theory)
by ‘Searching’ in the WP Reader (fingers crossed)

Here’s wishing you inspirational explosions. And FUN.

Prompt: Crimson’s Creative Challenge #76

Social Etiquettes I Would Never Understand

  1. knocking on the door and entering before any forms of acknowledgement is given – what is the point of knocking then?
  2. interrupting an ongoing conversation with “what happen?” immediately upon arrival – what happen to the entire “listen before you speak” idea?
  3. shifting and centering all conversations to self or “I/me”, especially when counselling or consoling a person – how does that help? It does not lessen that person’s pain and now, two people are hurting over separate matters.
  4. volunteering to help a person, then proceed to ask a third party to do it – why volunteer your help if you can’t do it yourself?
  5. giving information openly on social media but gets annoyed when people ask you about that information in offline world – why put it online for everyone to know then?

Or maybe these are just some of my pet peeves…

Coronaviral Adventures #9

There is a very good reason when my mother calls us to eat and we respond immediately. We would take however much we want and the last one would have to finish up whatever that is left over to prevent food waste.

My mother would cook enough for 6 people; there are only 4 of us. So naturally, my father is the one to finish everything. Because he is always getting distracted by his phone.

Thank god for mobile phone addiction.