The Cruelest Cut by Rick Reed

March 31, 2011

Plot summary (from the publisher): The first victim is attacked in her home. Tied to her bed. Forced to watch every unspeakable act of cruelty–but unable to scream. The second murder is even more twisted. Signed, sealed, and delivered with a message for the police, stuffed in the victim’s throat. A fractured nursery rhyme that ends with a warning: “There will be more.” For detective Jack Murphy, it’s more than a threat. It’s a personal invitation to play. And no one plays rougher than Jack. Especially when the killer’s pawns are the people he loves…

Warning: Major spoilers ahead!!


  • The only thing I liked about this book was the twist that Bobby really was dead and that Eddie had a split personality or something and was actually talking to himself/acting alone. I thought for sure Bobby had somehow survived that initial shootout and was coming back to take revenge on Jack.


  • The writing was extremely amateurish. I wish I had bothered to take notes so I could include some examples. The author used awful clichés and the dialogue was stilted and awkward throughout. Several times while reading the book, I felt compelled to check back on to make sure this wasn’t some self-published piece by someone looking to break into the industry. It was that bad. I have since learned that Rick Reed is an ex-homicide detective, so he does have some credibility in that area. But that doesn’t mean he can write.
  • Where was the character development? Even after spending all that time with Jack and his partner, I feel as though I barely know anything about them. The secondary characters were little more than cardboard cutouts that have already been encountered in thousands of other books in this genre. The ex-wife whom Jack still loves. The bombshell blond who can’t take her place. The overly ambitious news anchor that gets herself killed. The utterly incompetent chief of police. And on and on.
  • It took me almost three weeks to finish this book because it was so boring. There were lots of slow spots throughout, very little tension, and no action (outside of the overly gruesome murder scenes). Seriously, this felt more like a 900-page book than a 300-page book.


When I discovered the list of free Amazon Kindle books on the the Amazon website a few months ago, I felt like a kid in a candy store with an overindulgent grandparent. I downloaded a ton of titles just because I could, including The Cruelest Cut by Rick Reed. Now I’m paying the price for my undiscerning downloading habits by being stuck with these terrible books to read. The Cruelest Cut reminded me of the stuff I was subjected to during freshman level creative writing courses in college. I give the book 1 star out of 5.

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