Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review: Mind of a Madman: Evil Unleashed

Mind of a Madman: Evil Unleashed is a thriller. Like most thrillers, the suspension of disbelief must be overcome for the thrilling part of the story to grab the readers by the throat and allow the story to march forward unrestrained. It didn't work for me. The "carefully planned" escape was more coincidental luck and poor police procedures than careful planning. And our main protagonist is declared dead twice in the most incompetent ways possible in the first two days. And he seemed to get, find, or stumble across just what he needed at every turn. Still I read on. The author had an engaging character with a never stated mental problem (for which there was never any true indication that he was getting medical help though it was stated he was), and I was curious.

But the unlikely pursuit of Caleb, the escaped prisoner, across several states by a Kansas cop, sometimes as unglued as Caleb, and later joined by a Nebraska State Trooper, who quits his job to continue the pursuit that stretches over several months (don't remember the weather changing) and across several states, made the story harder and harder to accept. Caleb is one bad dude, and the graphic violence is what you would expect. She nailed some of those scenes. How he wanders around at his size without being spotted defies normal life, but this is fiction and a thriller.

I must confess. I was angry with the ending when I felt like I was coming to a conclusion only to turn the page and be greeted by a notice that the story continues in a second book. There are books that are series, where stories continue, new characters, new events, highs and lows, new adventures, even the reappearance of bad dudes, like Caleb. But they usually end with a conclusion, a message, a meaning, a lesson learned, a story arc completed with the bad guy confronting the last standing good guy to ensure his message: evil triumphs over good. This story just ends. Despite my issue with story construction, the writer writes well enough to garner a 3 for this novel.

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