Behind the Hood, first and foremost, is an adult content fiction with raw and blatant language, explicit sexual subject matter, and vicious and detailed action. It is an indepth look at the under-priviledged families struggling to survive amidst drug trafficking, the gangland atmosphere, and young adult mentality; hopelessness, the sense of entitlement, righteous indignation, heartbreak and heartfelt emotion, a coming of age and responsibility with a healthy mix of juvenile inmaturity.
Marita Hansen has revealed the ultimate nature and souls of her characters one chapter at a time, uniquely changing the point of view with each chapter, and quite successfully pushing the story forward at a pace fast enough to thrill the reader, while competently fleshing out each character without distracting from the colourful action and subsequent reaction through realization, or the lack thereof. The neighbourhood, the scenery, the ties that bind the blood relatives, the gang members, the extended families are all comfortably detailed, so that when something happens to one person, the reader feels the vile and painful repercussions throughout the community.
For readers on the outside looking in, this is a whirlwind journey into the lives of those who live in the Maori gang territory of Aukland. The morality and misuse of humanity has a bit of true kindness and real love folded in, and a surprising twist of fate at the end. While I would not normally read such a book, I will admit that Marita Hansen's writing hooked me from beginning to end. Indeed, I did not put it down until I had reached the last page.