The Roberts has at its core such a brilliantly simple premise that it’s hard to believe someone hadn’t thought of it before. The Boston Strangler and the Zodiac Killer are two old men residing in a retirement home. After they realize who each other is they decide to initiate a little competition.
From this premise a deliciously dark and twisted story comes to the reader. The Roberts goes longer and deeper though not just giving us the darkness. We are given two rich characters and insight into what makes them tick and who they are and how different they are. The Boston Strangler in particular is prone to introspection and leads a rich interior life while the Zodiac Killer is more outgoing and friendly and even has a family.
The story also has really funny moments. Like the two of them talking about the movie versions of their lives and how dissatisfied they were with them. The movies not their lives.
The bulk of the book is actually more drama. A lot of character interactions, interior monologue, and dialog. It’s really interesting to read and pulls you right along but this is just a bit of a jook before the last few pages. It’s in these pages where the magic happens. The pace quickens, the noose around the readers neck tightens and it ends in a very unexpected way that the reader never sees coming. Because of the surprise the ending actually winds up being much darker and twisted.
The bottom line is that this is an original crime story that is dark but has a broader appeal and is a fuller story because of it.