I was browsing some best books of 2007 lists and found one by an author named R.M. Kinder that lives in Missouri. The book, entitled An Absolute Gentleman is about a serial killer. I went to Amazon.com and searched for it and was instantly hooked and had to buy it.

Inspired by her own brush with a serial killer, Kinder has created a fictional representation that is chilling in its normalcy, haunting in its intensity, and stunning in its portrayal of sheer, sadistic madness. Taciturn English professor Arthur Blume launches his narrative by boldly stating that he is believed to have murdered as many as 17 women. Yet what most outrages him, now that he has been incarcerated, is that journalists are depicting him as a monster. He pens a memoir to correct this impression. In it, he describes in lavish detail the outfitting of his newly rented rooms in the small university town of Mason, Missouri; demurs over particulars of his illicit love affair with a fellow professor; and shares self-deprecating anecdotes about his gallant championing of a maligned colleague. Tucked among these decorous tidbits, however, are tantalizing clues to the demon within, one Kinder allows to emerge as stealthily as a cobra sliding from its bamboo basket. The addition of a self-explanatory epilogue regarding her personal experience detracts only slightly from Kinder’s otherwise spellbinding debut novel, a pitch-perfect rendition of the cunning malevolence that can lie hidden beneath the guise of refined civility.

The book was great. It was an easy read and kept me interested the entire time. It wasn’t a bloody, gory story, even though it was about a serial killer. When you think about it, it makes sense that it wasn’t, since the story was told through the eyes of the killer. She taps into this character so well, his coldness without showing cruelty, his calm monotone manner of speaking. You can see and hear this guy speak. He’s right in front of you and what makes it chilling is how so matter-of-factly he describes everything. Near the end of the book, it’s even more surprising that you start to feel sorry for this guy. We don’t hate him for being a murderer, in fact, when he does murder someone in the book it’s hardly an event, but more of just a happenstance that occurs between talking about life in the fictional town of Mason, Missouri. What made it even better was the descriptions of Union Station in St. Louis, giving descriptions of the mall and the fudge factory where the candy makers sing. This made the character of Arthur Blume even more real. This book was so good, I highly recommend it, once you start reading it, you won’t be able to put it down.