The King Slayer’s Sacrifice by Robert K. Hatch is a deep dive into the mind and motivation of a serial killer, but not just any serial killer – no, this is a serial killer who will haunt the FBI and law enforcement, for a long time, as he seeks to rid the world of those he considers responsible for mass suffering and death amongst the general population; politicians, successful and ruthless businessmen and bankers who prey on the vulnerable in society. Ryuu Kimura, it seemed, was a young man who had it all; musically gifted, with loving and nurturing parents, and a girlfriend he loved and adored who loved him back, just as much. Ryuu was set to make a name for himself, in this world, but perhaps not quite in the way everyone expected. Ryuu’s world comes crashing down around him, when first his parents and then his friends are caught by the financial crisis of 2008 and he witnesses first-hand the uncaring and callous treatment of ordinary people by the bankers, the politicians and the landlords. It is, however, when his best friend, Daniel, a computer whizz-kid becomes involved in hacking into sensitive sites and suddenly finds himself, his family and anyone associated with him, disappearing or murdered, that Ryuu gets caught up in the most dangerous game of all – trying to survive. Ryuu’s response to the death and misery that surrounds him is to disappear, reinvent himself, and come back as an avenging angel to wreak havoc on the lives of people he considers to have been the evil ones and to have brought so much misery to the world.
This book is a glimpse into the motivation of a serial killer, from the personal perspective of the man himself. I found the premise and the motivation that set Ryuu off on his path of destruction to be somewhat stretching the bounds of belief, but the book did raise and ask some very pertinent questions about life, death and the morality of violence versus non-violence as a form of protest against social conditions and who has the right to play God. I particularly liked the single-minded determination of Ryuu to carry out his plan regardless of the difficulties and problems placed in his way. He was prepared to sacrifice everything and everyone he loved in order to seek “justice” for all of those he had lost. This whole idea of some sort of “avenging angel” to stand up for the weak and the powerless is somewhat analogous to the idea of “super-heroes” fighting for truth, justice and the American Way. The King Slayer’s Sacrifice shows us that incredibly fine line that exists between good and evil and how easy it can be to flip the unflippable from hard-working, law abiding citizen into an avenger for justice who takes the law into his own hands. Robert K. Hatch, with this hero (anti-hero) poses and to some extent answers the question, what is the greater good? And does the end justify the means? Probably the most substantive part of the story and the message comes from the one meeting between Ryuu and a young, social crusader priest, Father Jacob as they discuss their different methods of seeking social justice. A good thought-provoking read.