Annabella Cordova, a young Art History student at Saville University and her man-devouring friend Celestina live an apparently carefree life, but Annabella hides a dark past that left her deaf. On a date with an alluring man, Celestina steals his gold ring…and disappears. Annabella reports the disappearance to the police, which sets into motion an elaborate investigation by detectives Valero and Rivera into murders of other girls from Saville University carried out in a particularly gruesome fashion. The enquiry gradually unravels activities by local Freemasons while the murderer stalks another victim—Annabella. Fearing exposure of their activities, the Freemasons take steps to wipe the trail of murders left behind by one of their own, leading to an unexpected climax.
Initiated to Kill is really three stories: Unraveling the sequence of abductions and murders; flashbacks into London’s murky past, the stalking ground of Jack the Ripper, a Freemason engaged in ritualistic slayings; and the gradual unfolding of Annabella’s past. The book is well written and Sharlene Almond sprinkles her narrative with local facts making the reader feel like he is in Saville, although the wealth of information can be somewhat overwhelming. Interesting in places, the detective work that went into catching the murderer becomes somewhat tedious, which diminished my interest.
I liked Initiated to Kill and Sharlene Almond breathes life into her characters. Readers of whodunit mysteries will find this novel intriguing. However, I feel the book suffers from several structural flaws. Annabella’s character is told in the first person, which suggests she is the focus of the novel, but detectives Valero and Rivera really carry the story. What I found disconcerting were the little snippets of Annabella’s past throughout the book, which distracted from the story’s flow. It would have been better to have a single long chapter on this. The sections dealing with Jack the Ripper could have been left out entirely without damaging the story. Nevertheless, Initiated to Kill will appeal to readers who enjoy absorbing themselves in a convoluted plot.
I live in Auckland, New Zealand. A couple of years ago, I self-published two novels, but I now have a publishing contract to republish my first novel.
I have Diplomas in Freelance Journalism, Criminology, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a Certificate in Editing and Proofreading, and am currently studying NLP, continuing on to study body language.
I finished my second novel located in Romania, based on the Dracula legend, and the first ever female serial killer–Elizabeth Bathory. The story takes the reader to 2016 where another person mimics her crimes and a man uses an ancient legend to further his dark purpose.
Each book unveils another layer. The historical plot reveals why present day’s events have occurred. The other subplots travel back in time to each character and show how they have become who they are. The books also answers questions left open in previous books.
I have recently finished my fourth novel based on the bubonic plague and the conspiracy theories that surround that event.