This is the novella prequel to the Shepherd series by Ethan Cross and it was amazing!. It was completely different to what I was expecting it to be and from what I was hoping it to be considering it was a prequel, but as it is a novella, I’m glad that it’s not as there would need a lot more explanation and a bigger book.
This book is about a well known and feared psychopathic serial killer named Francis Ackerman Jr, who ironically, has no fear himself. He was the subject of his fathers cruel experiments, in order to prove and publish his theories amongst other psychologists, putting him through physical and psychological torture, including killing his own mother in front of him. But, he does give you a chance, he plays a game with you, if you win you live, but if you lose and he wins, then your his and believe me, he knows alot about torture. In this novella we see how a group of doctors want to use Ackerman, once again has an experiment, to prove that they have discovered the treatment for psychopaths, transferring him from the security and safety of prison, to the security of the hospital. Ackerman sees this has his opportunity to escape, as all that now stands in his way is the security of the hospital and a young woman who has “personal vendetta against the killer”.
I personally loved this novella and thought that it was a great addition to the Shepherd series, even if it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought, that being a prequel, that this book was going to be about Ackerman and his father and focus more of him and his childhood and how it all began, but I’m also glad that it wasn’t. For this to have been about that, this couldn’t have been a novella and would have had to have been a much bigger book, because otherwise fans of this series would have been left disappointed.
I am so glad that I read the other books first, before reading this novella, because even though this is a prequel, I really don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly have as much and would have given it fewer stars. With it being shorter, there wasn’t a chance to develop the character of the amazing Francis Ackerman Jr, and between him and Marcus (sorry, you don’t get to meet him in this novella, read the series to discover :D) the character isn’t has strong as in the other books, if this is your first read. The information I gave at the top of this review about what his father did to him as a child, most of that information isn’t included in this novella, but I think you need to know this to understand the character, especially if you choose to start the series with this book.
Luckily, I came into reading this with the three books from the Shepherd series in my mind and was able to take everything in with amazingness. The thing I loved about this book, which may be a spoiler or a tease, if you are planning on reading this series, which I HUGHES, HIGHLY recommend, is how Ackerman wrote to Jennifer about his crimes. Reminding me of the phone calls he made in The Shepherd, which then turned to Marcus in The Prophet, always needing to confess his sins or always needing someone.
The great thing about this series is how Ethan Cross is able to create an amazing villain. I see myself routing for Francis Ackerman Jr throughout all of the books, wanting him to escape. Hopefully that’s so there’ll be more books and not because there’s something weird about me, but he’s so intriguing and he is by far my favourite character throughout this whole series.
Again, I give one of my highest recommendations to this series, that’s if you like a good thriller book, but maybe do what I did and read the other books first and then come back to this one to read so there’s a much better understanding. A massive 5 out of 5!!
The Shepherd series:
●The Cage – Ethan Cross (Novella)
●The Shepherd – Ethan Cross
●The Prophet – Ethan Cross
●Darkest Fear – Ethan Cross (also called ‘Father of Fear’)
Have you read any or all these books, if so, do you agree or disagree with my opinion/review? What’s your favourite book series? Comment below.