Killer Curriculum

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
261 Pages
Reviewed on 08/01/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Killer Curriculum is a quirky and compelling murder mystery novel penned by author Douglas Alexander. We first meet Detective Sarah Rime at a crime scene, on her first day in a new small-town post in New York State. The unusual and grisly crime is going to cause problems fast if it isn’t solved, and her captain recommends an unorthodox method to do just that. Enter August Booker, a retired FBI detective who spends most of his time teaching his star students how to profile killers. So when Booker invites cheerleader Kara, tech nerd Max and the elderly but plucky Ski to join Sarah’s case, she suddenly has a lot more on her hands than just a murder to solve.

Fans of the cozy mystery genre will really enjoy the short chapter style and easy readability of this excellent little mystery. Author Douglas Alexander builds plenty of charm into every page with a real commitment to his ensemble cast, and the humor and pathos of their exploits contrast well with the genuinely grisly and intense moments where crime scenes and criminals rear their heads. I enjoyed the portrayal of August Booker best: an ‘old soul’ whose work has beaten him down before he’s even hit forty, making him reminiscent of a classic noir detective from the thirties. The dialogue is always sharp and enhances characters well, and each person gets their moment to shine with their special skills, slowly changing Sarah’s perceptions of them. Overall, Killer Curriculum is a superb novel sure to impress murder mystery fans everywhere.

Jack Magnus

Killer Curriculum is a sleuth murder mystery novel written by Douglas Alexander. When FBI Agent August Booker retired after being injured on the job and accepted a position on the teaching staff of St. Webster’s University, a small private college in Berksville, NY, he had no intention of doing anything more than teaching profiling and criminology to his students. Dean Lawson’s request for him to aid the Berksville Police Department was therefore not entirely welcome. Dean Lawson’s friend, Captain Mark Harrison, however, was faced with a particularly gruesome murder case, and the detective working the case was a new transplant from Brooklyn.

Detective Sarah Rime was the consummate cop’s cop from a third-generation lineage of law enforcement, and her seven years on the Brooklyn force meant she was equipped to deal with any situations arising in the small town she’d moved to. But nothing she had seen during her time in the big city had prepared her for the carnage awaiting her at the murder scene. Rime was equally unimpressed when Captain Harrison asked her to accept Booker as a consultant in the investigation. When she finally met up with the professor and the three students comprising his Advanced Profiling Course, however, she began to appreciate the possible advantages of having them assist with the case.

In Killer Curriculum, Douglas Alexander creates a new partnership between a police detective and an eccentric and talented FBI profiler -- a partnership for readers to get excited about. I started getting psyched about this detective story as I learned about Detective Sarah Rime and got positively enthusiastic when I met August Booker and his student profilers. Fans of the police procedural and private sleuth genres should seriously consider giving this well-written, thought-provoking and downright exciting mystery novel a try. The cast of characters Alexander sets up is marvelous, and his plot is ingenious and intricate. I’ll be watching for the next book in this new series. Killer Curriculum is most highly recommended.

Keith Julius

Douglas Alexander has written an interesting type of whodunit that is sure to appeal to fans of police procedurals. Killer Curriculum centers around August Booker – a retired FBI agent who now teaches criminology courses at a small town college – and Detective Sarah Rimes, a New York City police officer who has just moved to the small town of Berksville to make a name of her own away from the big city. Sarah's first day on the job thrusts her into the middle of a particularly brutal crime and her superior on the force, Captain Harrison, brings in Booker to help with the case. One condition of helping the police is that the instructor insists on employing his three students as helpers in the investigation – Kari, the gymnastic cheerleader who has a keen understanding of the criminal mind, Max, the computer nerd, and Ski, an eighty-year-old coffee drinker who seems to have connections everywhere.

Killer Curriculum follows a steady and logical course as the team investigates the murder. Douglas Alexander moves the story along at a steady pace while he brings out the idiosyncrasies of the team members involved. The minor characters provide some of the more interesting interactions, bringing small doses of humor to an otherwise tragic and gruesome story. And just when you think everything has been solved, you find out things aren't always as they seem with the story moving abruptly at the end in a direction that will have permanent ramifications for Booker and his students. If you like murder mysteries, if you like police procedurals with offbeat characters, or if you just want to relax for a few hours with a good read, then Killer Curriculum is the book for you.