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Penance [Kindle Edition]

Rick R. Reed
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Bound by misery. Marked by sin. Set free by death.

Barely into their teens, without homes, they dwell in neon shadows, the violent eddies of urban America. They trade their innocence for money, abuse their hopes, and then a monster comes...

A monster without fangs or claws, but more deadly. Because of them, he has lost everything: his wife, his family. And he vows to clean the streets of Chicago...for good.

One of the street kids and a man of the cloth form a desperate pact. Together, they will find the madman whose basement has become a chamber of horrors...

PENANCE was part of Dell Abyss' remarkable horror line, lauded by none other than Stephen King.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rick R. Reed is the author of the novels Obsessed, A Face Without a Heart, and In the Blood. His short fiction has appeared in more than a dozen anthologies. He lives in Chicago.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1055 KB
  • Print Length: 382 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Untreed Reads Publishing (July 25, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EM0SI8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,030 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Evil Concentrated In A Sick Mind!! June 24, 2004
By G.W.L.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Reed (...)has the writing ability (talent) to keep you totally engrossed in his books. The "S.O.B.-Killer/Pervert" in "Penance" will send ice cold shivers throughout you whole body. "Penence" opens your eyes to just how terrible the cruel world can be to "lost" children. Mr. Reed makes you remember that all children (even the homeless)can get scared, lonely. But, the basic instinct of human survival can be terminated so easily by evil. GREAT READING. Be ready to cry at times though!!! This book is definitely NOT for the light hearted!! But WILL keep your attention from the first page to the last!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost palatable Misery & Suffering September 8, 2010
Human misery and suffering can come in many forms. Regardless, I've never seen it delivered in a book with such brutal realism, with such heartbreaking force. This book took me longer than usual to finish, not because it was bad, but because after only a few chapters I'd have to put it down to go play with my damn cats or watch something stupid on TV.

Yeah, the book is filled with THAT much despair. Don't get me wrong... I'm considering that a good thing. It's because it wasn't brought to us ham-fisted or in a melodramatic style, but in a nightmarishly mundane fashion.

Reed has been labeled "The Gay Stephen King." Personally, I think that does a disservice to Reed! And while the homosexual overtones were a bit... looming... it didn't stop this heterosexual guy from getting swept up by the horrible reality of homeless children selling themselves for drugs and money.

Oh, and I dare you to try and find an antagonist you despise more. There may be some minor reasons to try and sympathize with the villain, but seriously, I found myself fantasizing hopefully about his extended torture scene. No joke, Dwight Morris has now entered my Top 5 "Most Despicable" or what have you.

If you have a strong stomach for, well... everything; get this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very unpleasant but you can't stop May 12, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Novel about a psycho killer stalking the homeless children in Chicago Illinois. There's also a pedophile priest and a constant sense of depression and horror. I couldn't stop reading but I can't say I LIKED the book. It does do what it intends to--it horrifies you--but I find books where children are attacked and tortured or killed almost impossible to read. Still it's well-written, moves quickly and gives you characters you care about. Heck, you even feel for the priest! You don't feel for the killer but the author explains why he is this way. It all leads up to a disturbing conclusion.

So--on one hand--this is a horrifying view of a man and his killings with some very extreme scenes of violence. On the other hand this is a well-written, strong study of a madman and his victims. Proceed at your own risk. As I said, it's unpleasant but I kept reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Penance Takes on a Twisted, Sick Turn into Hell! August 3, 2008
By Jane
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Rick Reed has turned out another suspensful gay murder mystery involving street kids, an abused sick monster, and a priest battling his addiction to boys.
I like that Mr. Reed is able to give the reader a glimpses into the psyches that make up the main characters. The man/child physically abused by an aunt becomes a saviour in his mind. We have a good backstory, voices in his head that allow the reader to feel what he feels and in some way understand the horrible torture he inflicts in the name of the Lord. I could feel his helplessness.
Then we see into the tortured soul of the priest who wants to help the street boys...but the closer in proximity he comes to them the more his sexual desires overrule his sensibilities...throwing him into an abyss of self-loathing and despair. I could feel his helplessness.

Great character development of the street kids involved and their story give the reader a rich overview of why they are here.

Thrilling story, that was a page-turner! It left me on the edge of my seat!
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Format:Kindle Edition
I have been reading horror books since I was much too young to be doing it. Everything from Stephen King to Ed McBain to every other book I could get my hands on. I've read it all and I've loved almost every single one of them. But nothing, nothing, could have prepared me for Penance. I have never had a book get to me like this one did. With all the Rick R. Reed books I've read (and believe me, I've read a lot), I have always said that the thing that makes him such a go-to for me is the fact that his stories are real. Penance is very real and I warn everyone who may consider reading it that it's not for the faint of heart. The brutalities described are so detailed that you will be scared of what will happen next. But yet, you won't want to put down the book because you will have to know what will be happening next. I admit that I did have to walk away - for a few days anyway.

I am a mother of three (now grown) sons and to know that what is described in this book can be happening in the real world forced me to take a step back. It doesn't matter what kind of parent you are or how good of a life you've given your kids, any one of these children could belong to one of us. How many times (if you're a parent) has your child said they wanted to run away in a fit of anger? What if they had and ended up just like the ones in this book? I found myself in tears more than once reading this. My blog partner comments often about me being a "mum and nurturer". She has never been more correct than when I was reading Penance.

I read Moving Toward the Light by this author a few days ago. At the time I was not aware that it was the sequel to Penance. I have had Penance on my Kindle for weeks now and had every intention of reading it soon, but that story pushed me to do it sooner.
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More About the Author

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). His novel, Raining Men, won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint." Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."

Visit Rick's website at or follow his blog at You can also like Rick on Facebook at or on Twitter at Rick always enjoys hearing from readers and answers all e-mails personally. Send him a message at

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