Death Perfected

Vivian Xu, Book 4

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
308 Pages
Reviewed on 11/22/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Nathan Wilson was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1990. His love affair with writing began at the age of seven when he read a short story by his sister. Afterward, he spent much of his childhood writing fantasy.
During a three-year stint at the Lansing Community College newspaper The Lookout, he published his first novel. The Undying God was released in 2012 as a fantasy take on the perils of radical ideology.
Nathan's writing branched out in mystery and horror when he hammered out the Red Widow in 2013. Hailed by readers as fast-paced, engaging, edgy, and terrifying, it introduced forensic sleuth Vivian Xu and investigative journalist Camilla Vesely to the world. The Vivian Xu series twists and turns through an underworld of psychopaths and serial killers in its sequels Arsenic for the Soul, All Her Wounds, and Death Perfected.
It is presumed that Nathan's childhood ambitions to become a homicide detective led to this series of novels.
These days, he prefers to read about true crime and study criminal psychology.
When Nathan isn't writing, he enjoys classic horror films, hits the weights, listens to heavy metal, and plays with his pet bunnies. He is also known to disappear to Taiwan whenever the opportunity presents itself. The hiking trails are to die for.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Death Perfected is a work of murder mystery fiction, forensics, and fright, and was penned by author Nathan Wilson. Written for adults due to explicit content across the board of sex, death, and violence, this is the fourth book in the highly engaging but graphic Vivian Xu series. The series’ titular character is a forensic investigator, and in this installment, she is hot on the trail of the Fiend of Prague, a serial killer who twists and turns his victims until parts of them are no longer recognizable. Vivian calls on the help of Elijah Merrick, a psychiatrist, to help her unlock the mind of this fiend, but Merrick has plenty of secrets to uncover too.

Intense, graphic, shocking and wholly satisfying, this is a mystery to literally die for. Having read some of the earlier exploits of Vivian Xu, I can safely say the series has grown bigger and better since my last outing into her gruesome world of investigation. Author Nathan Wilson amps up the atmosphere and really fleshes out (pardon the pun) his characters and settings in this book, where the descriptions and action are compelling and highly engaging from chapter to chapter. The plot is solid, with excellent twists and well-timed turns that are sure to keep readers engaged, and the conclusions and surprises made good sense and led to a satisfying conclusion. Overall, Death Perfected is a wonderful addition to a bloodthirsty and very enjoyable murder mystery series: highly recommended for fans of horror, gore, and psychological intrigue.

Lex Allen

Death Perfected is the fourth novel in the Vivian Xu series. Vivian, aka Red Widow, runs a private detective agency with long-time best friend Camilla. The pair have taken on the hunt for a serial killer known for disfiguring his victims and placing their mutilated, plastic shelled bodies at various places around the city of Prague. The killer, known as the "Žižkov Fiend," has an obsession with the line between salvation and damnation as well as a delusional vendetta against the Red Widow who underestimates his sadistic impulses. Elijah Merrick, a tall and handsome psychiatrist, may be the key to Vivian's understanding and ability to defeat her most vicious adversary yet.

Death Perfected is the second book in this series I've read and reviewed (book three, All Her Wounds was the first; an exciting five star read). In this new Red Widow adventure, Wilson introduces fascinating and grotesque "science cum art cum biology" performed by the Žižkov Fiend on his victims as well as a new protagonist, Elijah Merrick, who has serious psychological problems of his own. Nathan Wilson is adept at infusing intriguing psychology into his often-quirky characters while keeping the storyline at a high pace of tension, anticipation, and shocking twists and turns. In Death Perfected, you'll find lots of action, a wide variety of relatable characters, a compelling plot, and a couple of explicit sex scenes that are neither gratuitous nor filled with lowbrow expletives. Fans of psychological and grotesque horror, detective and mystery stories wrapped in a fast-paced thriller will love Death Perfected, the Vivian Xu series, and Nathan Wilson's writing style.

Jamie Michele

Death Perfected by Nathan Wilson is book four in the mystery suspense Vivian Xu series, preceded by Red Widow, Arsenic for the Soul, and All Her Wounds. This book reads as a standalone, providing enough supplemental backstory of the titular character, Vivian Xu, to catch up on her prior crime-solving successes through a psychiatry sitting with her new roommate, Elijah Merrick. Set in the Czech Republic, Vivian's detective agency Red Widow & Vesely takes up the hunt for the so-called Žižkov Fiend, a serial killer so profane in how he murders and assembles the deceased that the case has been passed up by three other investigators.

Nathan Wilson delivers a tightly written, fantastically fleshed out (bad pun intended) mystery with Death Perfected. Vivian Xu is an exceptionally developed character who is everything one hopes for in a female protagonist: strength, intelligence, wit, grit, and a fierce drive to find the whole truth. Add in tattoos, pillar-box red hair, and a cool cyber-goth style, and we're on the trail with someone we really want to root for (and have as a BFF). The partnership between Vivian and Elijah is as believable as it is sexy, and the equally spunky Camilla is the cherry on top. I will absolutely go back and read the rest of the series and recommend others eagerly dive in as well. But first...I need to read a bit more about a little something called Crypthophillidea.

Ruffina Oserio

Death Perfected is the fourth book in the Vivian Xu murder mystery series, and in this entry, the skilled and indefatigable forensic investigator, Vivian Xu, is faced with a very cunning and vicious adversary, a serial killer who leaves gory images in his wake. He disfigures his victims. He is known as the "Žižkov Fiend" of Prague, a killer with a mind so twisted it is almost impossible to guess what he will do next. Even with the help of Elijah Merrick, a psychiatrist with his own secrets, can Vivian Xu defeat her most vicious enemy?

Author Nathan Wilson creates a memorable villain in this novel and explores the darkness of the mind of a psychopath. There are moments in the story that leave readers shuddering, yet it is rendered so convincingly that they can't help but believe the characters. A protagonist only grows in the story when faced with a formidable antagonist and the author knows just how to achieve this. The writing is gorgeous, the characters compelling and the plot cunningly crafted to keep the reader enthralled, always looking out for what happens next. The novel is suspenseful and the plot unpredictable. There is the unnerving feeling that something awful lurks in the dark, a feeling that compels the reader to turn the next page to find out what it is. Death Perfected is a crime thriller that will entice fans of criminal minds and intricately plotted sleuth mysteries. I found it gripping and hugely entertaining.

Christian Sia

Death Perfected is the fourth book in the Vivian Xu series that deftly blends mystery and murder. Vivian Xu is a forensic investigator who is taunted by a sadistic serial killer dubbed "Žižkov Fiend" of Prague. The more she thinks she is getting close to unveiling his face, the more cunning he becomes. This serial killer literally destroys the faces of the victims and, as the clock ticks, Vivian Xu becomes even more desperate. With the help of an eccentric psychiatrist, Elijah Merrick, she hopes to make a breakthrough. But can the psychiatrist be trusted?

I love it when an author keeps me guessing, gripped by the strong plot and feeling the tension building up, and Nathan Wilson does just that. While the story is original, it reveals a lot of research into criminal minds and the author builds characters that are elaborate and real. The female protagonist works through a lot of pressure, absorbed in solving a case that becomes more complicated through every waking hour. The conflict escalates pretty fast and reaches an explosive climax. The prose is crisp and the scenes are loaded with strong doses of emotions. The narrative has strong psychological underpinnings and a style that is cinematic. There is a lot to enjoy in this book, from the strong plot points to the great characters; from the crisp prose to the suspense, and a lot more. Death Perfected is an enjoyable read and a great offering for fans of mystery and crime fiction.