The Slayer's Apprentice - Zathyn Priest Once upon a time, I dated a boy who persistently called me schatje, which is baby in Dutch, but somehow has a worse connotation. I was young and superficial and he was the stud of the class, so I let it slip for a while. What can I say? Madison Avenue had not yet scored its educational monster hit.

Until this day however, I think there is a time and a place for endearments. They should not systematically replace someone’s name, nor should they be used loudly in public and above all; my m/m books should not be littered with them!
When one tough bloke calls the other tough bloke honey, I feel my toes curl up a little. So far, there’s only been one man who dared to say baby more than once and pulled it off too: Jake from the Adrien English mysteries. And only because he dosed those baby’s pretty damn well and let's face it; Adrien fits the baby bill.

The Slayer's Apprentice almost breaks 3 of my ground rules. Police officer Daniel Hart meets a slender, black-haired teenager, who works in a bar and has the habit of spitting into the drinks of his customers and stealing their wallets. Daniel knows this, yet asks the boy out anyway. On their first date, he immediately throws in a honey and 2 whopping darlin's.

And there’s no excuse really to be so slimy so soon... The guy’s name is Phoenix. That’s a pretty cool name!

It’s not Elmo he has to work around!

I read a few excellent reviews for this book. And I wish those reviewers had written the actual book. Because I’m afraid I was a little less impressed with The Slayer's Apprentice. The plot revolves around said cop falling for Phoenix, who lives with his little brother. He obsessively cleans when feeling stressed, until the bleach bites into his skin. He doesn’t trust anyone, has 5 deadlocks on his front door alone and is a compulsive liar. In a nutshell: he is a little Insane in the Membrane. At the same time, a notorious serial killer intensifies his little game of Cat and Mouse with the police. Lead Detective Somerset is desperate for clues. And Phoenix may or may not be able to lead him to this killer...

Who isn’t intrigued by psychological disorders? I wondered about Phoenix’ issues and those of the serial killer. However, the author simply offered textbook examples of sociopaths and did so in a "tell, not show" manner. The writing was clinical and choppy at best. The story didn’t flow as much as I would’ve liked and seemed to be offered in chunks, with POV switches between paragraphs (social workers, psychologists, Detectives, Phoenix' parents: they all got an OVERLY explanatory POV of their own) The main characters were one dimensional and only Phoenix was mildly interesting because of his obvious "defects".

Although I never actively hunt for inconsistencies in books, I found certain aspects of the plot extremely implausible:
1) I’m not buying the fact that an almost 30 year old cop would put his entire career at stake for a good-looking, but cunning, spitting and defensive 18 year old he just met in a bar.
2) There's no way the authorities would approve of the decision to leave a kid brother (who turns out to not be his actual brother!) in Phoenix’ care after a very worrisome mental meltdown AND his link to a serial killer on the loose.
3) I find it highly implausible for the police to approve of a cop still seeing Phoenix after the boy has accused him of being a pedophile during an interrogation session.
4) If Phoenix truly is such a sociopathic mastermind, as we are to believe, then why does he trick people into thinking he's an angel only to screw it up seconds later by showing his dark, nasty side? An intelligent sociopath wouldn't endanger his careful facade of normalcy so easily.
5) I cannot believe how Daniel, who has only seen Phoenix a few times, obstructs the investigation in order to keep everyone off the boys’ back, and whines that he loves him and wants to make the relationship work. "Do I mean anything to you? I lied and covered up a crime to keep you from being arrested. Have you ever thanked me? I'm a real person and have feelings, too.". What a fucking moron.

Will the real psycho please stand up?