The Baptist is a chiller. A serial murderer who strikes every eight years, in God's name. That is, until he discovers his true purpose on earth. Then things really get crazy.

To deliberately drown your brother in a bathtub is a terrible, if clean, thing. Might it not be excused, if he is the manifest son of Satan? But that wasn’t the view of the Authorities, when they committed John to Fairfield Mental Institution.
It wasn’t all bad; they let him keep his hair long and he met Dirty Mary. Like an institutionalised Bonnie & Clyde, they roamed the Victorian asylum and grounds, fulfilling their deluded fantasies. There were casualties.
John and Mary loved, lost and left. Thank God for Care in the Community. 

When God shines a light, it burns. Feargal and his friends relight my fire. 
The last prophet must wander, cleanse. 
I am not the One. I am merely sent to prepare a way for the One. 
I am The Baptist.

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Reviews for The Baptist from Amazon, Goodreads etc, see below. 

5.0 out of 5 stars Murdering Psychotic,  
September 25, 2012 by Vicki Evans
This book was offered to me in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoy a good thriller, but it's not easy to find an author that is able to really shock your senses. Well, let me tell you, Ruby Barnes did just that for this reader!

The Baptist is well-written, characters are believable and well-developed, and the plot is realistic, even though very disturbing. Within the first few pages, John commits an unconscionable act against his brother, and then the author had me hooked. What on earth would make a child do such a thing?

Oftentimes I think people "enjoy" a good thriller because it is so hard to fathom what makes people like John tick. The horrendous acts that he commits are not the most difficult aspect of his mind to comprehend; it is his plotting that is so frightening, the lengths he will go to in order to find/get his unsuspecting prey.

There were also religious allusions throughout the book: Mary, "the halo of hell," "strength of righteousness," and even once he said he had, "delivered all God's will." That completely freaked me out, because there ARE people with mental illnesses that believe such things. John wasn't a bad person; he only sought to do the will of God. The religious allusions and phrases are woven into the story beautifully and only make the reader more in tune to his psychosis.

One person he friends is named Feargal, and there is a HUGE twist with that friendship that wasn't expected. I don't want to write any spoilers, but their friendship is integral to the story line.

I recommend this story to anyone who is mature, enjoys a thriller that will leave you looking over your shoulder, and who isn't offended by some foul language.

Psycho Killer, Qu'est que c'est? Richard Sutton rated it 5 of 5 stars false

The Baptist takes the reader down a jolly pathway, littered, in macabre fashion, with the collateral damage. To sum it up, this novel is almost like a joke that begins, “Two serial killers walk into a pub…” You can imagine the punch-line… or maybe not.

The thing is, at several times during the trip, I was nearly nauseated by scenes the author depicts in enough detail to shock my senses. The Baptist delves into an intimate portrait of madness, but also how evil can grow from banal circumstances. One deranged serial killer might elude detection for some time, but what about two of them? Two can live as cheaply as one, but they can kill in ever-so-much more creative and egregious ways. Their evil, feeding upon itself as their madness is given free range by their complicity and given new dimension through their sexual depravity.

Author Barnes brings each character to life such that each is immediately recognizable, even familiar; and that just makes the shudders his writing elicits all the more effective. I had a lot of fun reading the Baptist, and while the end is apparently in clear sight, it still comes as a surprise in the final twist. This is a great read for anyone who has been a little too comfortable in their skin for a while. It should give them all kinds of new things to be anxious about!

5 stars Stupendous psychological thriller, August 14, 2012 by Ignite (East Yorkshire, UK)
This stupendous psychological thriller had me on the edge of my seat with my brain-cells fully in gear. It's a complex plot and is told from several stand-points. The main protagonist, John, spends some years in a mental hospital after killing his brother. There he meets Mary, a fellow patient. The hospital closes and the inmates are dispersed into the community, each with suitable medication. John marries and has a family. Eventually he takes himself off his medication. We are faced with several personalities in this story, and the clues are there to tell us what is happening. John has delusions and is helped by his old friend 'Mary' to try to bring them to fruition.

The story is very cleverly told and I found the device of multiple narrators took us to places that John himself could not. I do enjoy the author's style of writing. It's immediate and thrilling and he really catches the Irish speech modes in his dialogue. I finished this book almost breathlessly and I look forward to Ruby's next book. He's a very talented story teller.

's review Jul 24, 12
4 of 5 stars false

I won this on a Goodreads give away from the author and the blurb sounded fantastic. With references to Bonnie and Clyde along with mental asylums, I was pretty sure I'd like this book.

I wasn't let down. The change in narrator is done perfectly and it was refreshing to read a novel that wasn't Americanised. This book was brilliant and although the ending may seem obvious, it's probably not what you're guessing throughout the book.

5 stars Oh My..., 24 July 2012 by WS from AB
I wouldn't say 'The Baptist' was enjoyable as such, but I liked it a lot, having devoured it in less than 3 days.
Following the story of serial killer, John Baptist as he travels deeper into his psychotic crusade, Ruby Barnes takes you on a very disturbing journey as John tries to find his calling through his very fractured mind. The most interesting aspect of this is his quiet method of killing, chilling in its lack of violence, which is the psychotic opposite of his accomplice, Alice who is even more insane than he is and is brutal and primeval in her way of killing.
Some may not appreciate the changes in points of view but I think it added to the atmosphere as the story spiralled down to its ever darker conclusion when John finally thinks he had found what he had been looking for.
Great read, well written.

5.0 out of 5 stars The Baptist by Ruby Barnes,  
1 July 2012 by Alexx 
Ruby gets you right inside the mad head of John Baptist, aka Feargal. Sometimes that's a confusing place to be. He portrays expertly the conscience free zone of The Baptist's crazy mind and his equally insane accomplice, Mary, aka Alice. I struggled to keep up with their switches of personality at times, as their realities changed according to where their psychoses were taking them.
An electric ride of atrocities, committed without compunction, enables the reader to understand why these sorts of crimes might happen. I thought the analogy with biblical themes clever but a little clunky at times. Sarah was well drawn as John's long-suffering wife. It was easy to understand that she would need her background as a mental health nurse to cope with her husband but it was less clear why she was attracted to him. On the other hand,it was very obvious that Mary's sexual prowess would be hard for any man to resist. Her passionate love for John, despite her lunacy, was genuinely convincing.
The chilling atmosphere pervading throughout the Kingsmead estate enveloped me in a damp, dark claustrophobia.
I have driven a Saab too fast myself and thrilled to its power. I found myself grinning when John guns the engine for the first time and feels the torque. Nice one.
Recommended reading for atmosphere and getting inside a psychotic mind.

Psychological & Chilling = Crazy Cool, June 10, 2012 by dnae 
This book was like "A Beautiful Mind" on steroids. John Baptist is such an interesting, crazy, in-depth character. The book was extremely detailed in the process and connections of how John's mind works that leads him to the decisions he makes. Up to a certain point he was `cleansing' with a purpose, but as time went by and he got involved with a woman (Mary... or Alice) with similar personality traits he gets thrown off track to the point where `sacrifices' were being made without evidence of evil-doing. What would John Baptist do if he saw a fiery halo staring back at him in the mirror, I wonder? This book will really have you questioning what is real and what is fantasy (as with the Alice in Wonderland elements.)

John is special. He feels that he is preparing the way of the Lord. Certain people need to be weeded out for the coming of the Lord. The first to go is John's brother, Ray. John permanently baptizes Ray in the bathtub at home because Ray is turning into their father. While in the mental institution, John meets the first of many Marys in his life. When the institution closes, John is released into society, marries and tries to fit in. This only works temporarily. John meets Feargal and Mary, and then realizes his true mission from God.

The impossible has happened. Ruby Barnes outdid himself. I did not believe anything could be better than "Peril", but "The Baptist" actually warranted a second read, something I have never done. It is a dark, twisted, confusing journey through the mind of the mentally ill, and while it was disturbing, it was so fascinating, I was almost ashamed of myself. The religious symbolism throughout was interesting. The baptismal motif (obviously), Mary, the halos, etc. All I can say is that I am now hoping for sequels to both "Peril" and "The Baptist".

The Baptist will give you a chill, it'll make you shiver!! June 1, 2012 by Denna Holm

I was first introduced to Ruby Barnes and The Baptist when I received the first three chapters as an assignment on a peer writer critique site. I believe my first reaction fell somewhere into the--You have got to freaking be kidding me!--category. Shocking comes to mind when I think about this story. I read a lot of beginnings to novels, but rarely do I have one stick with me like The Baptist did. I couldn't get the story off my mind and found myself watching for its release date. You have got to admire an author who can make a connection like this with their writing. My only regret is for taking so long to write up my review.

Having read the thriller "Peril" last year and thoroughly enjoying the story, I already knew Ruby Barnes could write. John, the main character in The Baptist, earns his title when he freaks out one day and decides his brother is evil and a danger to all those around him--mainly John and his parents--and so he chooses to drown his brother in the bathtub. Any normal parents would understandably be shocked by this turn of events. Not only did they lose the son John killed, they also lose John. He is committed to a mental institution and spends the rest of his childhood growing up with an assortment of amusing characters who are just as messed up as he is. You'll have to read the novel for yourself if you want to know what goes on behind closed mental ward walls, but I will say this, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey comes in a definite second to some of the antics John and his new psychopathic friends dream up. Ruby Barnes pushes barriers many might wish he'd well left alone.

But the mental institution is only the beginning of the rollercoaster ride we take with John. Once the doctors state he is well enough, John is released to a clueless society. We are left somewhat surprised when he manages to actually blend in; he finds a job, gets married and has a couple of kids. By all outward appearance, John becomes a solid member of society--until he stops taking his medication and ends up baptizing another evil man--an unlucky stranger out hitchhiking in the wrong place at the wrong time. And though John is definitely a dangerous person to be around, and not one to ever be fully trusted, we begin to understand and identify with the drive behind a mind that is never quite sane. My feelings alternated between fear for John's young family, and hope, that he'd find a way to overcome the lifelong demons who rode his shoulders.

Bottom line--John's actions are despicable, horrifying, and guaranteed to make you cringe in more than a few places, but at the same time we find he is not a totally unlikable character. He is a messed up young man trying to fight for his life and sanity in an often insane world. Who among us can't identify with that during the difficult times of our lives? Definitely a novel I'd recommend to all you thrill seekers and adrenalin junkies out there searching for your next fright. 

Baptism of Blood, January 31, 2012
by Jersey Exile "Jersey Exile" (Liberty Lake, WA USA)
I've never read others' reviews of a book I'd just finished - until now. I wanted to see if any reviews had been left by psychologists or psychiatrists. They haven't, so here goes.

This is my second Ruby Barnes novel; I'd read "Peril" about a month ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. After reading my review, Barnes offered to send me "The Baptist," and I enthusiastically agreed. Here's the bottom line: Barnes can flat-out write.

While the books both deal with psychological pathology (Peril's protagonist is afflicted with narcissism and a lazy sort of greed and misogyny) "The Baptist"'s protagonist is full-on bonkers - and that's not simply a judgement call. John Baptist has been institutionalized after drowning his brother when both were children, believing he can see his brother's inherent evil, determined not to allow him to grow up in the mold of their father. But it's not the brother or the father who's evil, it's John, and it's evil wrapped in the robes of deep-seated religious mania. Upon release from a mental institution, John marries, fathers two children, and goes to work at his father-in-law's garage. He also stops taking his medications. At this point I wondered if we were on our way to an Irish "Shutter Island," and that everything taking place did so within John's mind, and he was still hospitalized. No, that would be too easy.

John, lonely within his marriage, stalks and adopts a friend, Feargal, who is nothing more than a figment of his imagination. But his "friendship" with Feargal leads him to Alice/Mary, a fellow former mental patient with a split personality. Alice/Mary is all too real. Mary is tough, but needy; Alice is unfettered sexuality, alluring, dangerous, and the crazier of the two personalities. John essentially leaves his family in an attempt to permanently cleave Alice's personality from Mary's and sustain Alice as the dominant persona, with tragic societal costs. During an intense relationship based on sex, drugs, alcohol and their co-dependent mental illness, John and Alice murder their way toward John's unspoken mission - preparing the world for Jesus' return. He's not just John Baptist; he's John the Baptist, baptizing those who might stand in this way through water and blood.

This is a fascinating and frightening book that just begs to be read. It is not for those with delicate sensibilities who might be offended by intense sexuality, a gripping description of rampant mental illness, and casual violence, all wrapped in a shroud of religion. But, it is a great read, masterfully written.

Fascinating In-Depth Psychological/Character Study
by: Archie Standwood on Jan. 29, 2012
Fascinating! Utterly riveting; I couldn’t take my eyes off the page. Devouring the novel, I marveled at the protagonist/narrator: so self-referential, so self-convinced of his right-doing (regardless of legality or moral value), yet in some ways so emotionally immature and childlike, easily led by certain others, readily induced to act in ways which are not beneficial-for himself or for those near him. His character is a fascinating psychological study, intertwined as it is with various religious allusions and overtones.

Author Ruby Barnes gives us a masterful portrayal of the protagonist, John-from the inside through first-person narrative, and from the outside, as in later life he develops an obsession with a sort of friend. Through this individual, Feargal, we see John as if we were watching him in a mirror, for he is a reflection of the better parts of John’s own personality and character. (Spoiler: I shall refrain from going into further detail about John’s discovery of Feargal and his intent to befriend him, for those who have not yet been fortunate enough to read this story.)

John is on a tight-wire by midlife, balancing demands of his inherited business, his wife and family, and what passes for normalcy, against his medications (which he often forgoes), his friendship with the elusive (now you see him, now you don’t) young Feargal, and remembrance of his mission to eradicate the spawn of Satan-those over whom John spies a red halo. While on the outside he appears to maintain, on the inside forgotten memories and actions, and behavior patterns he had earlier set aside, are beginning to taunt him in ways he does not understand.

“The Baptist” is a powerfully written, strongly-motivated novel, one that could be read and reread and new layers of meaning would be discovered on each reading. Rarely have I seen a protagonist dealt with in so scrupulous and fascinating a manner as Author Barnes delivers John to the reader. Amazing novel!

Review by druidgirl25 December 2011
This is a book that I could not put down. This story gave us a peek into the unstable life of a mentally ill person and his friends, and what happens when he stops takings his meds. This book has an ending not expected. I have read other works by Ruby Barnes and he is a wonderful author can not wait to read more by this author. 

Creepy - in a good way by Portia 19 Dec 2011
You really don't want to meet this man!
I like a good serial killer tale and what I appreciate about this one is the angle from which it's told. For a change you are not bogged down with police proceedure, ferensics and all that good guy angst.
The writing is tight and very atmospheric.
A chilling tale of real evil.

A Dark Tale by Dec 05, 11
This is another winner from an author who quite clearly has a talent as a great storyteller. I was hooked right from the start and loved the dark and sinister quality of this tale. The characters in this book are complex but very effectively portrayed and the sense of madness, of a mind battling itself is powerful and poignant. Ruby Barnes is easily one of my favourite Indie authors and I hope there will be more books to come.

Dark and Disturbing, but Oh So Good, by word addict "word addict" (USA)
December 4, 2011
I have read and enjoyed the work of Ruby Barnes before and he didn't disappoint this time. It's the mark of a talented writer when as a reader, you dislike the main characters, yet cannot stop reading because the author has made you care about them. In Peril, Mr. Barnes actually made me like the main character, flawed though he was. In this book, however, I found the main character and his twisted cohorts unlikable from the moment John entered the mental hospital for murdering his brother as a child until the bitter end where John finally makes a moral choice and acts on it. I know few writers who can get into the minds of deranged characters and portray them without apology like Ruby Barnes is able to do. His tales pull the reader along; they are very hard to put down. The Baptist is a dark, disturbing read, with elements of black humor and wit. Ruby Barnes is a master. His works are very well-written and expertly plotted. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a twisted tale.

by Bibi (London)
A complex tale of insanity, multiple personalities, revenge and murder.

Well written and totally convincing, it provides an absorbing insight into the minds of some very strange characters. It's not without humour albeit of the dark kind.

This novel is likely to test your mental agility and take you out of your comfort zone, but it's well worth the effort and risk.

Compelling and very, very different, 14 Nov 2011
by Elizabeth Jasper Writer (Andalucia, Spain)
To begin with, the writing is very good indeed, with a light, contemporary touch that makes reading a pleasure. Descriptive passages are original; there is nothing hackneyed about Mr Barnes' prose - it is fresh, sharp and incisive. The pacing is good, the subject matter compelling, unusual and well-observed. The theme - of a serial killer with a religious bent when it comes to despatching his victims - is original and consistent almost right through the story. I loved the intricacies of the relationship between John Baptist and Mary Crossan. In fact, I loved just about everything about the story and read it on two days. The portrayal of John's mental state as he abandons his medication is terrific and the casual way in which he inflicts death is blood-curdlingly understated.

I had a problem with switching from the POV of John in 1st person, to Sarah in 1st person, and then Mary/Alice. It seemed that these alternative points of view were there solely to prop up the plot - that without them, the reader would not know enough of what was going on. Likewise, the inclusion of McAuliffe. His interventions seemed to be there to support the backstory and added little to the main narrative and in one of the final scenes, I was dismayed to find the Gardai portrayed more like the Keystone cops than a police force.

A small issue, but why describe so many journeys too and from places in and around Kilkenny? Perhaps because I have never been there, I did not relate to the town so these journeys became slightly tedious and I think some of them could have been omitted.

Overall, a compelling read that will stick in my mind for far longer than is comfortable.

Review by Majella Ryan 8th November 2011
The second book from the demented author, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby!! (Ruby Barnes).
Dark and dingy, hot and steamy, everything you need in a novel in one swift download.
Highly recommended.


Many thanks to all the readers of The Baptist. If you've read it then please consider leaving a review on the website where you dowloaded the ebook, comment here or email me



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