DiscoverMystery & Crime

Killing Karma


Loved it! 😍

A gripping Concept--a romance, plus a detective story solving past-lives-motivated crimes

Last year, Peter was a witness to and participant in the nightmarish pull-out of US forces from Kandahar in 2021. Now, managing a bookshop in Detroit, he struggles with PTSD, avoiding anything that might provide a trigger. Counselling helps, but not enough. At night, he’s right back there on the tarmac at Kandahar.

One day a woman named Clare orders a book about past lives. She invites him to try regression hypnosis, recommending therapist Theresa.

Peter begins his hypnosis therapy with Theresa. Twice, he’s experienced dissociative fugue, he tells her, a sense of time loss. Theresa immediately senses his pain. ‘Am I going through this for a reason?’ he asks, wringing his hands. Probably misplaced guilt, she thinks.

In trance, he’s an African American boy in Georgia named Martin, about to be hung. He recognises the officer putting a nose around his head. Theresa says Peter is being led to understand those responsible for the trauma causing his PTSD.

Clare walks back in to the shop, and she asks Peter out.

A bitter divorce has led Detective William Harlow to self-harming. He attends a death, an apparent suicide. The preliminary autopsy shows Harlow’s case is a murder.

Peter’s date with Clare is a success, and they return to the subject of past lives.

Theresa goes out for a meal with Nyra, to the same place that Peter and Clare had gone to. They are there on their second date, and Theresa is happy to see romance budding between two of her clients.

A robbery occurs at the book store which Clare and Peter must witness, the shared trauma of which causes problems in their relationship.

Harlow attends another crime scene; a small-time criminal is murdered in the street, his head severed. The body carries a card with a similar message to that accompanying the body in the previous case. Harlow suspects Peter.

Theresa considers her potentially unprofessional feelings about Peter.

Harlow attends a missing person case. A note was left, with the same message. Karma has a Champion. They deserved it. Signed: The Karma Killer. The missing person is Clare. Now, Harlow suspects Peter even more.

After a blow to the head, Clare is abducted. Theresa comforts Peter. Peter tells Harlow he’s been seeing a regression therapist, Theresa Clement; Harlow recognises the surname.

As the perpetrator reveals their hand and Harlow solves the case, we learn that everyone’s fate is a payback for some past life’s crime.

This is two stories—the first, a romance, the progress of which is affected by the couple’s past lives, and the second, a detective story about a serial killer who is motivated by events in past lives. The interconnection between these two elements makes for an excellent plot.

I really love the Concept of crimes being motivated by karma left over from past lives. However, I considered the karmic avenger a basic plot flaw, without a fuller understanding of the killer’s past lives. A karmic vigilante would have worked if they had a stream of different clients they enacted revenge for.

Reviewed by

Susie Helme is an American ex-pat living in London, after sojourns in Tokyo, Paris and Geneva, with a passion for ancient history and politics, and magic, mythology and religion. After a career in mobile communications journalism, she has retired to write historical novels and proofread/edit novels.

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