"Ingeniously constructed and breathlessly told, The Last Commandment is Scott Shepherd at his gripping best."
"Called to mind Thomas Harris’ earlier work - a serial killer novel with just the right amount of intensity, suspense and a clever murderer who always seems to be one step ahead of everybody else."
"Scott Shepherd is a dazzling storyteller, whose authentic and richly textured characters and clever, pulsating plotting captivate. THE LAST COMMANDMENT is a riveting and wondrously satisfying thriller with that all too rare commodity: abundant heart and soul."
"Scott Shepherd is a marvelous storyteller, and The Last Commandment is further proof of his abilities. Smart, funny, and layered with a terrific sense of time and place, the story rockets from one twist to the next while always deepening the questions of family, trust, and the weight of old sins. A gem of a thriller, not to be missed."
DEBUT Just before he's set to retire from Scotland Yard, Austin Grant has three murders to investigate in one week. Austin keeps one clue quiet: mysterious numbers have been carved on the victims' foreheads. His brother, an Oxford professor, suggests that the numbers could be from the Ten Commandments, so Austin sends a warning to priests and London's churches shut down. Then Scotland Yard gets a call from NYPD detective John Frankel about a new victim, in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Austin flies to New York, hoping to reunite with his journalist daughter Rachel, from whom he's been estranged since his wife's death a year earlier. Austin, John, and Rachel team up to investigate, but they can't prevent a fifth murder. When they suspect an infamous old case of Austin's might lead to the next death, they all return to London in time for Christmas, but not in time to prevent the case from taking a terrible personal turn. The intensifying, suspenseful investigation ends in a shocking, made-for-TV reveal. VERDICT Shepherd's first novel reflects his years as a TV writer (The Equalizer; Miami Vice.) The fast-paced story and twisted villain will appeal to fans of crime dramas.—Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh P.L., IN
A serial killer seems to be taking his cues from Agatha Christie and Ellery Queen.
The first victim is a visiting Oxford don, the second an East End sculptor, the third a has-been rocker. They seem to have nothing in common except for the successive Roman numerals carved into their foreheads. Commander Austin Grant of Scotland Yard can’t imagine what could possibly link them all until his brother, Oxford philosophy professor Everett Grant, points out to him over a game of chess that each victim had notably broken one of the Ten Commandments. Since the most likely candidates for the role of fourth victim are priests who are working on the Lord’s Day, Grant sends out a veiled nationwide warning that improbably shuts down myriad houses of worship, but it does no good; the killer simply hops the pond and executes a priest inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. High-tailing it stateside after his quarry, Grant makes contact with NYPD Detective John Frankel and Rachel Grant, the journalist daughter who’s been estranged from him ever since her mother’s death from cancer. Shepherd isn’t afraid of clichés, and the obsessively choreographed murders are complemented by an interfering reporter, the detective’s buried family secret, his looming retirement on New Year’s Day, true love blossoming in the unlikeliest places, and the death of whichever suspect seems the most obvious candidate for the role of “the Commandment killer” on a given day. Readers may be surprised early on, but many of them will figure out whodunit well before Grant.
A fast-paced tale that weds its golden-age homage to some serious violence. Sinners beware.
"A real corker [...] Good idea, expertly executed."
"An enthralling mystery that will hook you on the very first page and keep you turning until the last. Shepherd’s signature storytelling is on full display in THE LAST COMMANDMENT."
"Written in taut, tight chapters that land like a hail of bullets. You’ll race through this story."