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Project Cain
Cover of Project Cain
Project Cain
Jeff discovers he’s a serial killer clone—and he’s got to track down others like him before it’s too late in this Bram Stoker Award–nominated novel, a thrilling YA companion to Cain’s Blood.
This dark, literary thriller is a story about blood: specifically, the DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers, captured and cloned by the Department of Defense to develop a new “breed” of bio-weapons. The program is now in Stage Three—with dozens of young male clones from age ten to eighteen kept and monitored at a private facility without any realization of who they really are. Some are treated like everyday kids. Others live prescribed lives to replicate the upbringing of their DNA donors. All wonder why they can’t remember their lives before age ten.

When security is breached and the most dangerous boys are set free by the now-insane scientist who created them, only one young man can help find the clones before their true genetic nature grows even more horrific than the original models: a fifteen-year-old boy, an every-boy…who has just learned that he is the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer.
Jeff discovers he’s a serial killer clone—and he’s got to track down others like him before it’s too late in this Bram Stoker Award–nominated novel, a thrilling YA companion to Cain’s Blood.
This dark, literary thriller is a story about blood: specifically, the DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers, captured and cloned by the Department of Defense to develop a new “breed” of bio-weapons. The program is now in Stage Three—with dozens of young male clones from age ten to eighteen kept and monitored at a private facility without any realization of who they really are. Some are treated like everyday kids. Others live prescribed lives to replicate the upbringing of their DNA donors. All wonder why they can’t remember their lives before age ten.

When security is breached and the most dangerous boys are set free by the now-insane scientist who created them, only one young man can help find the clones before their true genetic nature grows even more horrific than the original models: a fifteen-year-old boy, an every-boy…who has just learned that he is the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer.
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Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.8
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

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Awards-
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 boys school in Ohio and is a Masters candidate in creative writing at Miami University of Ohio. Visit him online at GeoffreyGirard.com.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 29, 2013
    Girard launches an ambitious experiment with this YA thriller—releasing simultaneously with an adult companion, Cain’s Blood (see review, p. 44)—in which battle-weary government operative Shawn Castillo teams up with the teenage clone of Jeffrey Dahmer to stop a murder spree committed by other killer clones. Told from Jeff’s point of view, this tense, terse, and often nightmarish tale delves into the question of “nature versus nature,” as Jeff is told of his origins and rescued by Castillo before he can be captured and taken to the secret facility that commissioned his creation. As Jeff and Castillo cross the country seeking the clones of the Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy, and another, more ruthless Dahmer, they form an uneasy alliance, always one step behind their targets. While the premise is intriguing and the execution solid, the story itself is muted, told with minimal dialogue and filtered through Jeff’s inexperienced point of view, giving it an extra layer of emotional distance and making it feel like he is just a character in Castillo’s tale—a sidekick telling the hero’s story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2013
    Weaponized serial-killer clones are on the loose, and one of their own teams up with the agent who's hunting them down. A secret government/corporate program has cloned the United States' most notorious serial killers and fostered them to families. Some families were paid to mistreat the clones; others treated the clones with kindness. Sixteen-year-old Jeff Jacobson is astonished to learn he's the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer and that the man who has raised him is the lead scientist on the cloning project. When his dad vanishes, and six of the cloned killers lay waste to their private school, Department of Defense agent Shawn Castillo takes Jeff with him on the trail of the killers. The duo follow clues in Dr. Jacobson's notes and a bloody path of destruction to find the clones and, perhaps, an even more insidious biological weapon made from their blood. Jeff's nearly dialogue-free narration is peppered with minilectures on serial killers, the life stories of various characters and ludicrous science. Girard's debut for teens is an alternate version of his adult debut, Cain's Blood, which releases simultaneously and features the same story and characters, only from a different point of view. This late-to-the-dance serial-killer tome succeeds only on two fronts--making serial killers seem boring and science funny--and pales in comparison to the similarly themed novels of Dan Wells and Barry Lyga. Stick with Wells and Lyga; this muddle is just plain insulting. (Thriller. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    November 1, 2013

    Gr 9 Up-Sixteen-year-old Jeff Jacobson, a clone, is named for his genetic source, Jeffrey Dahmer. This "lab rat with jeans" grew up with other clones who all had one thing in common: their source cells were from serial killers. The scientists who conducted Project Cain put morality aside and purposefully exposed some of the clones to abuse and neglect to replicate the upbringings of men such as Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, and Henry Lee Lucas. When his home is raided and his scientist father disappears, Jeff goes on the run with a military tough guy, Castillo, who was supposed to turn him in but instead works with him to track down boys who escaped and who are already taking actions that demonstrate their murderous genes. The story uses a scaffold of conspiracy theories including government payoffs and mind-control projects. Jeff is tormented by the knowledge that he may be programmed to kill, and, when he begins to see visions involving Dahmer's victims and seems to develop telepathic communication with the other clones, he and Castillo realize that the project involves more than just raising clones to see how nature versus nurture works. Project Cain includes real-life police photos of the killers, and some descriptions get a bit gory. Buy where Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers, Paolo Bacigalupi's The Drowned Cities (both Little, Brown, 2012), and perhaps Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs (St. Martin's, 1988) and James Lilliefors's The Leviathan Effect (Soho, 2013) have found readers.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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