Ruby Barnes is never afraid to push all the book rule boundaries and The Baptist is no exception. Within the first few pages, we are fully embedded in the mind of the unlikely main character of the piece, right there with him as he leads us into temptation. The motivational trigger is right there too; the sibling jealousy, the fear and hatred of his brother, a brother who was maybe becoming a little too much like his controlling, insensitive father. Only a small step then, into that world which lies under the surface of our cosy lives and thoughts, a step which the majority of us don't want to know, or even think about. The mental hospital, the inmates and how all of this experience shaped him further, is well done with a dash of black humour.
Baptist, is a character fashioned slowly into madness, where the edges of reality blur into the imaginary and at times I had to double back in the story a little, just to check which part of his head I was actually in!
The axis comes when Baptist stops taking the tablets.
He's a psychotic killer, although there is an underlying empathy with this man, for despite not liking him, I was nosy enough to want to know what happens to him, and what he was going to do.
It is strangely intoxicating to read. Mesmerising almost as the tension is racked up by the clever, non-sensational use of narrative, the observational humour and scene setting.
Read slowly, and read every word... and don't answer the door.
A big beefy four for me.