Cain's Blood: A Novel

Cain's Blood: A Novel

by Geoffrey Girard


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When clones of infamous serial killers escape from a secret government facility, it’s up to a former Army Ranger to stop them…with the help of a teenage killer clone.

The DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers—including Ted Bundy, The Son of Sam, and The Boston Strangler—has been cloned by the US Department of Defense to develop a new breed of bioweapon. Now in Phase Three, the program includes dozens of young men who have no clue as to their evil heritage. Playing a twisted game of nature vs. nurture, scientists raise some of the clones with loving families and others in abusive circumstances. But everything changes when the most dangerous boys are set free by their creator.

A man with demons of his own, former black ops soldier Shawn Castillo is hot on the clones’ trail. But Castillo didn’t count on the quiet young man he finds hiding in an abandoned house—a boy who has just learned he is the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer. As Jeffrey and Castillo race across the country after the rampaging teens, Castillo must protect the boy who is the embodiment of his biggest fears—and who may also be his last hope.

“A wild, peek-through-your fingers scare ride” (Paul Tremblay, author of The Little Sleep), Cain’s Blood melds all-too-plausible science and ripped-from-the-headlines horror into a stunning work about the potential for good and evil in us all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476704050
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 09/02/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Born in Germany, raised in New Jersey, and currently living in Ohio, Geoffrey Girard graduated from Washington College with a literature degree and worked as an advertising copywriter and marketing manager before becoming a high school English teacher. He is currently the English department chair at a private boy’s school in Ohio and is a Masters candidate in creative writing at Miami University of Ohio. Visit him online at

Read an Excerpt

Cain’s Blood

Prologue: A Field Test

One of thousands performed during the longest war in U.S. history. An irresistible opportunity for assessing the potential effectiveness of newborn policy and products in model test environments, thus fulfilling the primary tenet of all military research and development: What hasn’t been tested doesn’t work. Everything, from new camouflage and body armor to computer-driven bullets and laser cannons directly out of Star Wars. Recon systems, satellites, advanced combat rifles, pesticides, cold-storage warehouses, radio sets, and lamps all had their turn. This field test, from a purely scientific standpoint, was no different.

The two helicopters were stealth-modified Black Hawks on loan from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), an airborne Army unit known as the Night Stalkers. They swept over the village, silent and veiled as buoyant shadows caught in the valley’s cold predawn winds. The target had been rated mostly empty. Mostly enemy. And, suitably remote.

As the helicopters passed overhead, one of the passengers, a man the Night Stalker crew had never seen before and would never see again, dropped a canister no bigger than a Pepsi can into the village square. Hell, it was a Pepsi can, and it bounced and skittered in a dozen different directions before settling against a mud-lined furrow running along the village’s lone dirt road. The Black Hawks were halfway into the next valley before the handful of village watchmen even thought to shoot after them.

The gunfire awoke Tahir al-Umari, who rose slowly and grumbled at his stirring children to remain quiet as he pulled on sandals. Outside, there was random shouting and dogs barking. In the doorway, with arms crossed and tilted forward enough to see down the path some, he called across to a neighbor who’d struck a similar pose. “U.S.,” the man replied simply. Tahir nodded, rubbed at his nose in thought as the soft winds off the adjacent black mountain slipped down, cool across his face. He was one of a dozen families who still lived in the outlying village, the rest having vanished over the last ten years. He and his sons now owned and worked eleven acres, and nine were planted with poppy. Allah willing, when the others departed, he would plant wheat and saffron again. One day soon. Now, perhaps, it didn’t matter. The Americans would come back or send the Afghan narcotics police to burn the fields. He’d heard they possessed some sort of virus that could kill an entire crop in hours. He thought, I will lose everything. He thought, Maybe this is a good thing. And, Now maybe the Taliban will move on to some other place.

Automatic fire from the center of the village. The distinct clacking of AK-47s. Then excited voices became screams.

Tahir and his neighbor locked eyes across the distance between them, both with hands half lifted in confusion. A raid by the Americans? The neighbor quickly retreated into his house, while Tahir stepped fully outside.

“Daddy?” His youngest daughter’s voice emerged from within, and he turned. His wife and other children had crowded in the doorway behind her. Whispering. His oldest son, thirteen, had pulled on his jacket and shoes.

“Stay inside,” he told them, eyeing the boy especially. “I’ll be right back.”

He stepped hurriedly down the uneven dirt pathway, skirted the other mud-brick homes alongside. Another man followed him, a small crowd moving together toward the sounds of boisterous cursing and gunfire. More shots were fired and Tahir crouched low in the shadows. It sounded like an entire clip emptying. A woman beside him moaned a half-prayer, and he shooed her still with his hand. The air tasted funny, he realized. The back of his tongue was acrid, like he’d been chewing on something plastic.

He caught the eye of a friend, both men finding the courage to creep toward the end of the street together. There, the headlights of a stock-still van cast a muted glow onto the cramped main square. Bodies lay there, sprawled and twisted like a collection of his daughter’s cloth dolls dropped absently to the ground. Like, except for the widening pools of blood.

“They’re . . . they’re shooting themselves,” someone whispered from the shadows beside him, the voice both retreating and truthful. Tahir watched as one of the Taliban fighters shot another and then immediately brought the rifle beneath his own chin in a sudden ruby spout. A day laborer named Rafeeq scrambled to seize the dropped rifle but was shot down as two more Taliban charged into the square shouting more curses and commands. One noticed other onlookers across the square from Tahir and turned to fire. Four shadowy figures of various sizes spun and collapsed. The soldier cast off his now-empty rifle and stumbled toward the dead as if drunk, pulling free a handgun. Fired unremittingly into the first corpse. Then he turned and faced Tahir.

Tahir froze with nowhere to escape. The man pointed the gun and shot. Nothing. The clip already emptied. Still the man stood, wrist jerking half a dozen times, as if he’d actually been firing at Tahir. There was something in the man’s expression. His eyes. What is wrong with his eyes? Tahir shuddered.

Another fighter pounced beside this one and clubbed him in the head with a rifle. The man with the strange look went down and the second straddled him, driving the rifle butt into his face. Again and again and again.

Tahir stumbled backward, withdrawing in panic with the others. His eyes were stinging. Smoke from the rifles, he thought, a new chill suddenly nagging at the base of his very skull. Screams echoed behind him, and Tahir had to turn.

A woman—Padja’s wife, he thought—had been pulled down by two other men he knew well. Her face pushed to the ground, her chadri ripped away as both men struggled with their own pants. Tahir stopped his retreat. “No,” he shouted at them. Found himself moving forward to stop them. Found himself watching the woman’s body writhing beneath them, struggling to be free. Her exposed loins lifted and vulnerable for their every pleasure. For his too if he so desired. Tahir shook that sudden awful thought away. He advanced closer. “No,” he said again, but the word came out too slow, like in a dream. The worst dream.

Padja’s wife had rolled over, shamefully opening herself to them. But, the man on top of her was now screaming. Clutching his face, something dripping and red hanging between his fingers. His cheekbone glistened in the first rays of the rising sun. From beneath, Padja’s wife smiled at Tahir. Blood running down her chin. Her eyes. Something in her eyes.

Tahir crumpled. Crawled, his head vibrating. Shadowed figures both scrambled and lumbered past him in every direction. The unnatural taste and smell of plastic utterly filled his throat, his nose. Screams swathed the village, echoed off the looming mountain, where dawn burned crimson. His mind crowded with incessant and infinite thoughts, awful thoughts, buzzing like a million insects. Over this unrelenting swarm, he reflected, This is what Hell sounds like. And also, I must get home.

He staggered back down the street, propping himself against other homes to keep himself upright. Inside each, more screams. Mothers and brothers and babies howling together as one. Their cries joining the churning clamor in his head.

Someone grabbed him from behind. He turned, struck out. The boy collapsed. A friend of his sons. The boy had a knife, and Tahir took it from him easily. Used it just as easily. Stabbing again and again. Again.

He stepped more confidently down the path now. The swirling, immeasurable thoughts had finally become one. Only one.

He inspected the dripping knife. Smiled.

His family waited inside their house as he’d left them.

His daughter came to the door first.


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Cain's Blood: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. Did I enjoy this book: I was asked this by some family members. My response: “I hate it. But I love it. I don’t want to read it. But I can’t not read it.” How’s that for an answer? I read every free chance I had, so long as it was during the day. I couldn’t read this book at night … at least, not at night by myself. If there were people around, then I was able to read a bit of it. Cain’s Blood was well-written and had me hooked after the first gruesome chapter. As I said above, this book is not something that I would normally pick off the shelf at my local bookstore. Nor is it a book I would necessarily pick after reading the blurb. But I was in the mood for something different. And different is what I got. Cain’s Blood was exciting, disturbing, gross, terrifying. It scared the crap out of me for the most part. Not necessarily due to the graphic scenes, but more due the fact that the murders were based on truth. People actually performed those horrifying acts. It also scared me because cloning has been done. I don’t know about cloning humans and doing everything that was done in this book, for the reasons they were done, etc, — but cloning has been done. What will be done with it in the future in the name of science, who knows. Cain’s Blood did take a bizarre turn toward the end. Not anything so unbelievable that would make the book less real, but borderline. Part of me wishes it hadn’t taken that step. I understand why it did and how it all fits together, but it could have been left out. I also would have liked to have learned more about Dr. Jacobson. I wanted more about his history. He was a major player in Cain’s Blood but this story was not necessarily his. However, it was partly his story and I wanted a bit more about him. I liked Castillo, Ox, and Jeff Jacobson. I really did like him. I felt so bad for him — well, for some/most of the boys. Like I said, I was terrified by this book, but I could not put it down. I wanted to know what happened. I had to know how this book ended. The epilogue left me with a chill and a shudder, a shudder I still have thinking about it while writing this review a day after I finished Cain’s Blood. Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book to anyone who likes exciting, scary, spine-chilling stories that have an air of truth to them. Cain’s Blood is not for the faint of heart, squeamish, or for those with sensitive ears. Will I read it again: I will not. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
tpolen More than 1 year ago
Cain’s Blood is dark, intense, and gory at times – if none of that bothers you, then you’re in for a gripping and riveting read. When I first read this book description, it completely blew me away – a deeply disturbing, but profound concept, cloning serial killers and using them as weapons.  The government also experiments on numerous clones, altering their environments, and the concept of nature vs. nurture figures prominently in this story, along with genetic predisposition. Castillo is wonderfully complex and flawed as the protagonist and throughout the book, he is torn between his instincts of protecting and helping the teenaged Jeffrey, while at the same time fearing him.  The dialogue and interactions between the other teenage serial killers is both horrific and compelling and it’s obvious the author did extensive research for this novel.  The scientific aspects fascinated me – anything involving genetic engineering grabs me. Girard has also written a YA companion novel, Project Cain, I’m looking forward to reading.  It focuses more on Jeffrey, and I found his character and circumstances to be fascinating and engaging.  Cain’s Blood is heavy and gritty, and some readers may need to take a break while reading it, but easily one of the best thrillers I’ve read in quite a while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though not usually a fan of sci-fi, horror books, I was intrigued by the premise and enjoyed this book. Well written - with interesting science and compelling interactions.
Zot79 More than 1 year ago
Genuinely Creepy and Not for the Squeamish Anyone not expecting a book about serial killers, or in this case, clones of those serial killers, to not be sick and twisted is fooling themselves. What we have here is a solid first novel that is genuinely creepy and not for the squeamish. What's also a little creepy is the encyclopedic knowledge about serial killers, their lives and their 'careers' demonstrated by (and freely acknowledged by) the author. He uses this knowledge to build a world where he can freely explore the issues of nurture vs. nature and the consequences of unfettered scientific inquiry and military avarice along the lines of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The characters and settings here are well-drawn. The prose is strong and the plot well-developed. What knocked me out of the story from time to time were the glaring inconsistencies and implausibilities in the science. Is this about cloning and genetics and free will? Or is it about a nerve gas that overrides all three? It tried to be about both, using the latter to provide a (superfluous) ticking clock to add urgency to the story about the former. It will be interesting to see what this author does in the future. He's already published a young adult novel that is a companion to this book. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Geoffrey Girard in his new book, “Cain’s Blood” published by Touchstone introduces us to  Shawn Castillo. From the back cover: Ted Bundy. The Son of Sam. The Boston Strangler. Albert Fish. Henry Lee Lucas.  The DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers has been cloned by the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a new breed of bioweapon. Now in Phase Three, the program includes dozens of young men who have no clue as to their evil heritage. Playing a twisted game of nature vs. nurture, scientists raise some of the clones with loving families and others in abusive circumstances. But everything changes when the most dangerous boys are set free by their creator. A man with demons of his own, former black ops soldier Shawn Castillo is hot on their trail. But Castillo didn’t count on the quiet young man he finds hiding in an abandoned house—a boy who has just learned he is the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer. As Jeffrey and Castillo race across the country on the trail of the rampaging teens, Castillo must protect the boy who is the embodiment of his biggest fears—and who may also be his last hope. Melding all-too-plausible science and ripped from- the-headlines horror, Cain’s Blood is a stunning debut about the potential for good and evil in us all. I enjoy the stories when a science project goes horribly wrong and it is left to a small handful to fix the problem while trying to stay alive.  And that is exactly the type of story that Mr. Girard has given us here.  This whole issue of cloning, when you think about it, is enough to give you the creeps.  Truthfully would you really want another you running around out there?  Now how would you feel if you found out that you are not unique and that you are made from serial killer DNA?  Get ready for a page-turning, thrill ride.  Not only is Shawn trying to track down a bunch of serial killer clones he also has to deal with a clone who doesn’t want to be what his DNA was originally.  This is quite a theme-are we forced to be what our DNA tells us or can we be more than basic biology?  Mr. Girard gets us caught up in the story and the characters lives to the point that we actually hate to say goodbye to them when the book ends.  I want more adventures with Shawn Castillo please. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Touchstone.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
HeartofaBookWorm More than 1 year ago
OH MY GOSH!!! In thinking about just how I would write my review of Cain's Blood I had soooo many avenues I could go. This book is CRAZY, FREAKY, FRIGHTENING, TERRIFYING, and soooo much more! From the very first chapter I was HOOKED and even though there were some very gruesome parts, I had a hard time setting the book down! Cain's Blood is well written and for the most part, it is totally possible, I mean, cloning has already taken place and what some will do in the name of "Science," who knows??  Girard sure does and Cain's Blood is an excellent read!! Thank you TouchStone Publishers for allowing me this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Girard tells a frightening and seemingly possible tale of government conspiracy, evil, and the sacrifice our heroes make to "keep us safe". The main character, Castillo, a former Delta Force Ranger struggles with his own sanity and morality as he tracks the government sanctioned clones of some of America's most notorious serial killers. As the story unfolds, Castillo uncovers the purpose of cloning serial killers, which the author uses as an example of how the War on Terror has changed our nation's need for weapons. This story is a great read for any who loves stories about doomsday preppers, crime, government conspiracies, military actions, and the ethics of science and medicine.