By Damien Linnane
I asked for this book from the generous team at Blackthorn Book Tours. It was the blurb summary that really piqued my interest.
There were five now. The mugger, the sex offender, the wife-beater, the drug-dealer. And of course, Peter. Jason hadn’t needed a gun to kill Peter.
Jason Ennis doesn’t understand why the world is such a confusing place. Why it’s so difficult to read between the lines, so hard to understand what people want, such a struggle to fit in. Not that he isn’t trying as he works a dead-end job and chips away at a degree that’s going nowhere.
But good things come to those who wait. Sometimes, when he least expects it, he gets a chance to make a real difference. To make the world a better place. By removing someone else from it. Someone who doesn’t fit in with his standards of behaviour, someone who reminds him of how they scarred him as a child.
Scarred is not for the squeamish. A poignant debut about serial killers on the streets of Sydney, it explores the addictiveness of vengeance and the tragic mistakes made by the misguided.
Now, as a horror and true crime lover, how can you not want to read that????
But when I got the book, I was immediately disappointed. The format it is written in is almost like one HUGE paragraph. As the manuscript went on, the format DID get a little better. But it was difficult to read because there was little separation between thoughts and paragraphs, quotation marks were rarely used to identify dialogue, often leaving me wondering if the main character was thinking these things to himself or if it was a real actual conversation within the text of the story. The compressed and unclear format made it very challenging and somewhat frustrating to read. What frustrates me the most is that a simple click of grammar and spell check could have fixed about 30-40% of the issues. The rest could have been easily solved with using paragraphs to separate different trains of thought and subjects. If I had to call this style something, it is definitely written in the more ‘stream of consciousness’ writing method. And unless you are right in the mix with the author, sometimes that can be very disorganized and confusing.
Another frustrating thing about this manuscript was certain things about our main character Jason get repeated over and over, virtually in every chapter I read. Things like “he doesn’t like to be without his tactical gear or his gun” and other similar quirks. These are repeated so often it’s almost insulting to the intelligence of the reader (me) because it’s like, how many times do you have to tell me that in one story? Do you think I didn’t catch it the first ten or twelve times? Come on. I think I get what the author was trying to do, trying to make us identify with the character as an OCD and more militant type of individual. But it got to be where if I saw that phrase, I wanted to skip ahead to get away from it. I applaud and admire the effort the author made to make Jason real to us and put us in his mind and position, but at a certain point it just became like an overload of an audio track on repeat.
There also seems to be a lot of random information that doesn’t seem to apply specifically to the story and comes across more as filler material to bulk up the page count for the novel.
The story itself, AWESOME. At least what I could get through of it. I will admit freely that at about the halfway mark I simply had to stop reading and put it away. For me, reading is an enjoyable activity. Not one where I like to experience a whole lot of frustration or spending time deciphering what the author was intending.
This story is also not near for the faint of heart. It takes a lot to make my stomach turn and things of that nature. Being the child of a police officer, I was exposed to murder crime scene photos and some of the most horrible stories from the other officers on the squad and the ADA that was my Dad’s old partner on the police force. And there were still parts of this story that made me have to pull back and resituate my brain and emotions. To me that is extremely powerful writing. And it’s not done in a way that I think comes off as offensive. This author is using these events to make a statement for certain characters involved.
This story should definitely come with one of those ‘trigger warnings’ that I see splayed all over everything nowadays. It is truly a chilling story to read, just so hard to maneuver through. It is extremely violent including such ghastly crimes as murder, violent rape and sexual assault, general violence, child pornography, torture, kidnapping, revenge, punishment, psychopathy, sociopathy and even suicide. It’s as if the author was trying to include every horrible thing a human being could do to another human being all in one book.
While I wasn’t able to finish it myself, I can honestly say that if you want to dig in deep to the darkest parts of the human condition, this is a book for you. But be prepared for the horrors that await you because they are in fact there on every page.
About the Author:
Damien Linnane was born in Sydney in 1986. His debut novel, the vigilante justice thriller Scarred, was written by hand in prison while he was serving a two-year sentence for a series of crimes, including the firebombing of a home, with the sentencing magistrate finding that his motivation appeared to be ‘vigilante action’.
Since his release from prison, Linnane has completed a master’s degree in information studies. He also works as a portrait artist and freelance writer, and is in the finishing stages of writing a memoir.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/damienlinnane/ OR