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Shame [Kindle Edition]

Alan Russell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (599 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Although it’s been many years since the death of his father—an infamous serial killer known as Shame—Caleb Parker still struggles to free himself from his father’s dark shadow. Caleb wishes only for a normal life without being branded a “killer’s son,” but his dreams are shattered when a new string of murders surfaces that are all too reminiscent of Shame’s terrible killings.

When the police label him the prime suspect, Caleb forges an unlikely partnership with true-crime author Elizabeth Line, a writer whose career began when she survived an encounter with Shame and who then went on to document his life—and death. As the body count begins to pile up, Elizabeth and Caleb come to the conclusion that one of them has been targeted by the killer, and a game of cat and mouse begins as they try to uncover the murderer’s identity before becoming his next victims.

Brutal and unapologetic, Shame draws you into the mind of a serial killer with no chance of escape until the last page is turned.

Editorial Reviews Review

Author Tess Gerritsen Interviews Shame Author Alan Russell

Tess Gerritsen: The last time we talked you interviewed me for a newspaper column, but now I get to interview you.

Alan Russell: That’s right. We discussed your latest book Last to Die and explored your San Diego roots.

TG: Being a San Diego native, my first few winters in Maine weren’t easy.

AR: I think I’d hibernate.

TG: Actually, winters are my most productive time to write. And speaking of hibernation I understand you’ve emerged from it with a new book (Burning Man).

AR: Not only a new book, but the reissuing of Multiple Wounds and Shame.

TG: I missed Shame the first time around. What’s it about?

AR: My first insight into writing the book occurred when I read about Ted Bundy fathering a child while in prison. That got me to thinking about how terrible it would be to be the child of a serial murderer.

TG: So much for a normal childhood.

AR: Exactly. Given that circumstance, I figure I’d want to escape the sins of the father as soon as I could. And that’s what my protagonist does.

TG: Let me guess, he’s not able to escape his past?

AR: Even though he has tried to carve out a life outside of his father’s shadow, it’s always there. His wife and children have no idea about his past, but it still taints him. The past catches up with him when a series of murders occur with his father’s M.O. Suddenly, he’s not only outed, he’s the prime suspect.

TG: That doesn’t sound like an easy book to write.

AR: It was the book from hell. I was on deadline and for the only time in my life I was late. In order to make the book right, I had to balance the past of the father with the present of the son. I also found it necessary to have not one major protagonist, but three. I brought in a true crime author whose career path was started when she survived the father’s visit to her sorority and he spared her life. And filling out the triumvirate is a drag queen.

TG: Dare I ask if that’s something you have personal experience with?

AR: The only time I’ve been in drag was when I played the role of Mother Ginger in the West Coast Ballet Company’s performances of the Nutcracker. And no, I’m not a dancer. The only reason I was in that production is that I’m 6’ 7” and they needed a tall performer to hide all the little dancers under a huge hoop skirt. Someone recommended me for my height, and though I was terrified at the prospect of performing as a writer I couldn’t say no to such an experience.

TG: Do you have pictures?.

AR: You wouldn’t want to see them. I was not an attractive woman. My oldest son claims he still has PTSD from seeing me dressed that way.

TG: Do you still think of Shame as your book from hell?

AR: I must admit I really enjoyed rereading it. I guess enough time passed to forget the pain. It must be like women with childbirth. And speaking of childbirth, even when you were a practicing doctor and the mother of two you kept up a demanding writing regimen and still do. What’s your secret?

TG: Sheer stubbornness and an obsessive-compulsive streak. I hate missing deadlines, so I stay at my desk until it's done.

About the Author

Alan Russell is an award-winning writer and California native whose wild imagination continues to get the best of him when it comes to his literary achievements. A proud father of three and an avid gardener, Alan blames his busy home-life for the long delay between works—though his readers agree each new book is worth the wait. Inspired by the “what if” factor, Shame is his sixth novel and explores the psychological inner-workings of a serial killer whose son is forced to live in his shadow. Drawn to the bold and daring, Alan continues to churn out new page-turners that are sure to continue to thrill his readers. To find out more about Alan Russell please check out his website:

Product Details

  • File Size: 521 KB
  • Print Length: 345 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612186106
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer; Reprint edition (December 11, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008BU6W2Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psycho Thriller! July 10, 2002
I recently read Russell's latest work, EXPOSURE, which was so good that I decided to pick up a copy of SHAME. These are very different books - I would call the latter a psycho thriller murder mystery - but Russell's inventive plotlines and nimble writing shine in both.
The protagonist is the son of a serial killer! An intriguing premise which Russell deftly explores - or should I say exploits - to show how the sins of the father are visited upon the son.
Like EXPOSURE, SHAME has lots of twists and turns that will keep you guessing to the end. It is well written and fast paced with lots of action and suspense. It is a very good read. I highly recommend it for the adult reader, but probably not for the kids.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Though-provoking, well-researched and well-written June 25, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I don't know if I can even begin to describe how this novel affected me. None of the characters are what they seem and all of them drag with them some hidden shame that causes them to try to change who they are. Looming over them, from the distant past, is a serial murderer named Gray Parker - but better known as "Shame" for his signature of writing "shame" on the bodies of the women he killed. Maryelizabeth is the only woman to survive meeting him and she is now known as the Queen of True Crime since the book she wrote about him paved the way for her to become a very well-known true-crime author. Flash-forward to present day San Diego: women are being killed and the signature looks the same. Gray's son - who presents himself as Caleb rather than his birth name Gray, Jr. - lives and works in the area with his wife and two children. Is the son re-living the sins of his father? Circumstances certainly make it appear to be so. However, after meeting him, Maryelizabeth believes in his innocence and tries her best to help him, even when it seems the case against him is open and shut.

We meet some truly magnificent characters along the way - Lola is probably my favorite and I was very impressed with the research that Alan Russell did to come up with the various Native beliefs that she tells Caleb about. Strangely, though Lola was fleshed out very strongly and given a good background, etc.; Caleb's wife was much less real. I felt like we barely got to know her at all. Same with the antagonist - we only had a few brief scenes actually inside the antagonist's head, so the reasoning behind everything is only extrapolated by outsiders after the fact. I suppose that makes sense, in a way - but it seemed odd after how beautifully and lovingly Lola's character was created.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new twist on serial murder mysteries August 7, 1998
By A Customer
Serial murders are a dime a dozen in mystery novels, but this is the first I've read which features the child of a serial murderer (as well as a writer covering the story). A gripping psychological suspense novel with interesting characters (especially the transsexual), plot twists, and fine dialogue. Russell's last book, Multiple Wounds, was a real departure from his comic novels. (Hotel Detective & The Fat Innkeeper are two of my all-time favorites). But Multiple Wounds was occasionally flawed by, in my mind, humor and "tourist" information -- Russell hails from the hospitality industry -- sandwiched in between deep psychoanalysis and mythological allusions. In Shame, he manages to integrate local color and occasional jokes without breaking the mood of the book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shame February 11, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a shame that I wasted some hours finishing this book. Although the plot is ludicrous in the first few chapters, it grows only more absurd in the later ones. Indian lore, transvestites, primary characters who act brainlessly, Walt Whitman, a book within a book, Shame is everything but a decent thriller or mystery. If you're looking for a book that has some grounding in reality, look elsewhere.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stands test of time. December 24, 2012
This is the reissue of a book originally published in 1998 but has really stood the test of time well. It follows the story of a lady true crime writer who gets herself drawn into the vortex of a series of ritualistic mass murders of young women. The book actually reads like a true crime book and is gritty and moves along swiftly. Some things I guessed in advance in the story and some I didn't but thats OK as it kept my interest. My main problem with the book is a character named Lola takes an undue amount of interest in helping one of the principal murder suspects. Why? That said, it a good book if you like them dark.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of my favorites July 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is difficult to explain why some books are your favorites before you finish the first half. It is equally difficult to explain why some books that other reviewers have loved just never grabs your interest. This book hit me that way. It is well written, great topic, well developed characters, but to me it was like reading through molasses.

I'm not sure I'll purchase another book by this author since it seems his writing style and my reading interest just do not intersect.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Different and interesting June 22, 2013
By Charlii
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A totally different take to my mind on a serial killer plot. The author-narrator-main character in the beginning gives way to the revealing of the son of a serial killer and all the ramifications of his life. The story does keep you interested... lots of different characters to keep track of, though...sometimes it became a bit much... basically a good read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Shame
The theme of this Russell certainly true. Everyone of us has secrets, many of which we justify, or try to bury. Read more
Published 5 hours ago by Mema
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it - intriguing, multi-layered and complex while still fun to...
This is a sexier version of 'silence of the lambs', maybe less brainy but definitely richer in its depiction of complex personalities. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Hollywood Rocks
3.0 out of 5 stars I was glad when I had finished it
a bit slow and not at all exiting. I was glad when I had finished it.
Published 7 days ago by Bob Coote
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 15 days ago by Ashley H
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Interesting story kept me turning pages. The killer was revealed but I could not figure out how he would be stopped.
Published 26 days ago by Jody Farmer
4.0 out of 5 stars Far better than expected
I had gotten this novel for free during a sale. I tend to put free books on the back burner, assuming I'll get what I paid for. I should have gotten to this one sooner. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Vince in Chicago
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very well written. It keeps your intrest
Published 1 month ago by Ronald Ringdahl
4.0 out of 5 stars Addresses social issues such as is evil hereditary?
Subject matter deterred me at first but psychological angle drew me in.

This book resonates with anyone who has been bullied, taunted, sidelined, or tainted by parents’... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Penelope James
4.0 out of 5 stars You have to make your own mind up about this book. Is a good read but...
This book seemed to have much promise when I started reading it, I thought it was going to be one of my 2 day read books, but it wandered on for 4 or 5 days. Why? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rod Pohl
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost Sleep but worth it
Wow, kept my interest. Sometimes dialogue was a challenge to follow but I did it. Anxious to read the next one.
Published 1 month ago by Macbit
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More About the Author

Critical acclaim has greeted Alan Russell's novels from coast to coast. Publisher's Weekly calls him, "One of the best writers in the mystery field today. The New York Times says, "He has a gift for dialogue," while the Los Angeles Times calls him, "A crime fiction rara avis." Russell's ten novels have ranged from whodunits to comedic capers to suspense, and his works have been nominated for most of the major awards in crime fiction. His novels have garnered him a Critics' Choice Award, The Lefty (awarded to the best humorous mystery of the year), and two San Diego Book Awards. A native and long-time resident of California, Alan Russell is a former college basketball player who these days barely can touch the rim. A proud father of three children, Russell is an avid gardener and cook, and fortunately is blessed with a spouse who doesn't mind weeding or washing dishes.

To find out more about Alan Russell please check out his website: or like him on Facebook:

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