Monday, July 1, 2013

Ripple Library - Psychopathic Fiction by Beau Brady

"Thomas Malone is having a terrible day; he just watched a film reel of what looks like his sister being killed, but he's an ex-convict, just released after a 20 year lockdown, and his only friends are all killers— any one of whom could've done it.

Malone has no choice but to awaken his former life, using a mindset of secrets and passwords that only an ex-con really knows, in order to exhume the truth about his sister's fate…

…and his own part in it."

Taken from the book jacket, but really, what else do you need to get the juices flowing and dive into Psychopathic Fiction, by Beau Brady.  Ex-con (himself a psychopath) on the hunt to track down the killer of his sister.  A dark voyage through an underworld of demented sex, murder, violence, and psychological illness.  A world I'd never traveled before.

Disclosure, Beau moonlights as the daunted Ripple scribe, Horn, who's been sharing his musical missives with us for several years now.  What originally attracted me to Horn's writing was his style.  Short, staccato sentences.  Low on adjectives and adverbs.  High on pointed observations and wry comparisons.  Each sentence Horn writes is like a saber directly pointed at an internal organ.  Stabbing with utter efficiency, skipping the fat and diving directly into the vital region.  He writes with the pointed targeting of a master.

And Psychopathic Fiction is the same.

Here, Horn (Beau Brady) takes his razor-sharp observations, pointed phrasing, and stabbing efficiency and leads us into a journey of darkness, mental instability and the dirty underworld of the criminal psychopath.  And Beau knows of what he speaks.  Beau is a licensed expert in psychopaths and criminals.  He's seen things, heard things, learned things, that most of us could never imagine.  He's dared to venture into the minds of the sociopaths and psychopaths and delved into the steamy limbic regions of their twisted obsessions and desires.  He's lived with these folks.

And now we do to.

It isn't every one who can write a novel where the protagonist is a convicted criminal.  A liar, a rapist.  So utterly untrustworthy a viewpoint.  It takes amazing skill to create a character sympathetic enough in our eyes that we're willing to go on a journey with him for 242 pages.  But Beau does it.  And he does it amazingly well.  Not by having the character plead his innocence or malign his fate, but by having him deal directly with his admitted guilt, his passions, his cravings.  And his actions.  It's all incredibly riveting to be drawn into this world, where everything is seen differently.  Every footstep heard differently.  Every action interpreted differently. 

I once read a novel by Stephen Hunter, "Dirty White Boys" and marveled how he was able to write about a gang of criminals on a killing spree and do it in such a way that it was the criminals who acted within a code of honor while it was the police who were morally corrupt.  Somehow, it all made sense.  I was stunned that Hunter could pull off such a feat of role reversal.

Beau does it as well.

You will find yourself totally engrossed in the point of view of the criminal and his own "code." Not that he's suddenly a good guy.  He's not.  But he's living to his own code.  To me, it was a fascinating journey.

And that journey is guided by an expert writer who uses his words with ruthless efficiency.  Early in the novel, there's a fight scene, where two cops are set upon teaching our protagonist a lesson.  Without a doubt, it's the most vicious fight I've ever read, but also the most interesting.  Beau digs into every moment of the fight, what the criminal sees, thinks, how he acts.  Each momentary opening of weakness.  Each sudden shudder of pain.

It left me breathless.

And realizing that I have no idea how to fight.

Add to this story interspersed passages on criminal insanity (from the medical literature, but shared from the point of view of our criminal protagonist--who's clearly researched the twisted workings of his own brain) and I put down the book feeling like I'd just been giving a glimpse into a dark world that I never knew existed.  A demented tour into the synapses of the criminally psychopathic.

A journey I never would have expected to take.

A great read for the crime novel enthusiast. 


Buy it here:

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