by Geoffrey Girard
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Jeff Jacobson had never heard of Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer who brutally murdered seventeen people more than twenty years ago. But then Jeff discovers he was constructed in a laboratory as part of a top-secret government cloning experiment called Project CAIN where he was created entirely from Dahmer’s DNA. Jeff isn’t the only teenage serial-killer clone. Multiple DNA copies of the Son of Sam, the Boston Strangler, and Ted Bundy were created, some raised, like Jeff, in caring family environments; others within homes that mimicked the horrific early lives of the serial killers they were created from. When the most dangerous of the boys are set free, the summer of killing begins. Can Jeff help catch the “monsters” before becoming one himself?
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When I read the synopsis for this book I was stoked. A government conspiracy to clone serial killers to use them as weapons? SIGN. ME. UP.
“You think I’m a monster. That I’m just some clone. Evil incarnate.[T]hey’d taken one of Dahmer’s cells and retrained it to became, like, an egg cell. Then they fertilized that egg with another one of Dahmer’s cells… I am one hundred percent him. I am Jeffrey Dahmer.”
- Geoffery Girard, Project Cain
Ya’ll, I have never been more disappointed in a book in my life. Girard took a truly phenomenal idea and to say he botched it doesn’t do a good enough job describing how terrible this book was.
First of all, the main character was the clone of Jeffery Dahmer but with what Girard gave us he could have been anyone. The author did NOTHING to connect teen Jeff to his serial killer clone. This could have been remedied by driving home that one of the key questions in the experiment was whether sociopathy was genetic or situationally born, but the author was seemingly too lazy or not skilled enough to even do that.
I kept waiting for it to get better and then I was just waiting for it to do anything. The narrator just whines about his dad and sits in hotel room after hotel room while a side character is doing all the work. Can we switch POVs to the side character. You know… the one who’s actually doing something?
This story had so much potential, but Girard was not up to the task of writing it.