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Acts of Violence (Macmillan New Writing) Hardcover – 6 Nov 2009
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'Dark, compelling and powerful; this is a book of real substance. Ryan David Jahn is a rare and fine talent.'
-- R. J. Ellory
WINNER OF THE 2010 CWA JOHN CREASY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGERSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
This is a very powerful and disturbing book, which stayed with me long after I had finished it. The story becomes all the more horrific when you realise that it is actually based on a true crime, where 38 people allegedly witnessed a woman being murdered and did nothing. Jahn's writing is brilliant, fluid and poetic and simple. He switches perspective with each chapter, jumping from character to character as the night unfolds. The book deals with so many serious and moral issues: euthanasia, war, racism, corruption, homophobia, paedophilia, wife swapping... it seems that none of humanity's darkest facets are left untouched.
And none of his characters are blameless. Anyone in the book could have saved Kat, just by picking up the phone. The chapters that take her POV are extremely moving, as she laments that she just wanted a hot bath after a long shift at work, but she is dragged away from her door by a strange man who is loitering in the night and made to suffer an appalling ordeal. The attacker is also given his own chapters, which makes his crime all the more disturbing, as we understand his desires and motivations.
Whilst horrible, this novel is extremely compelling and I read it in one sitting in a couple of hours. It is thought provoking and certainly made me question what my own reaction would be to witnessing a crime of this nature. A sad indictment of human nature - read it.
The initial attack on Katrina Marino was observed by many of her neighbours, brought to their windows by her screams; however, for their own reasons, nobody did anything. Although they saw the attack, safe inside their cosy homes, they all had a reason for not wanting to call the police out. Everyone thought that someone else would do something: everyone left it to someone else and, in the end, they all became complicit in the murder of a young waitress.
All the characters are all well drawn out, from the sleazy, corrupt cop to the woman who is worried that she may have killed a child, and their stories are intriguing. You are left wondering what will happen to them all!
An intriguing book - I can't help but hope for a sequel and will certainly be looking for other books by this author.
Most of these things take place in a development of flats in the course of one night and there are occasional glimpses of goodness in this sea of sin, the character of Frank being the prime example, together with the two men who 'find' each other and hopefully happiness. I found the optimism of Kat particularly upsetting and what happens to her is a truly horrific sequence of events, completely outside of her control.
Short, punchy chapters keep you turning the pages and you really can't put this down. This novel simply a snapshot in time with no real conclusions or tidy endings, but a short way into the book you feel as if you know the characters very well and in a very intimate way. The fact it's based on a true event adds to the power and the people's actions seem very real, making you imagine how you'd react in a similar situation...
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The story : While a woman is brutally assaulted just a few meters from her door, the neighbours look on from...Read more
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