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Early on in Davy's young life, everything goes horribly wrong. As an adult, his sole agenda is simply to make everything right and whole again... which makes the title of this book so incredibly ironic. Overall, this perspective gives the tale an interesting twist. You feel for Davy, the boy, are repulsed by Dave, the man and yet, can't cast him as the end-all, be-all of evil. I liked that but would have liked to have had more information about his life growing up beyond the vague, shadowy snippets of memory that are revealed here and there throughout. I wanted to further understand Dave's logic... although, since he's clearly lost it, maybe that's simply not possible and my desire here was unrealistic. After all, one probably has to be crazy to understand crazy, right?
Overall, I did like the book. The writing is great. Evocative. The author paints vivid pictures with words - some of them, I'm sure, the reader would prefer to unsee. The character development of the two young boys, Zach and Trevor - wonderful... especially whipass smart little Trevor.
This is, most assuredly, a page turner. However, I knocked off a star from the four stars I would have given because there are a couple scenes where we're given a stream of consciousness flow of menial and unimportant details about activities various characters are engaged in that I found a bit tedious, pointless and unnecessary. I enjoy reading every word of a good book, trusting the author strung together the words to create a path toward a deeper understanding of where he's leading us. Not so with certain passages. I found myself skimming and skipping over several paragraphs to get to one that had a point or some action or something that actually contributed to the narrative as a whole. I was disappointed that I felt compelled to do that. What I wanted was to be hanging on every word.
Some have said they don't like the ending. I can't decide if I do or not. Sequel?
The story is solid and beautifully written, and you will definitely enjoy the author's descriptive prowess, but this is a story that you read for the sake of the journey, not the ending, since there really isn't much of one. But more on that in a minute.
The strength of this book is the powerful expression of the parent/child bond, and it does that extraordinarily well. For a gore fest, I found myself enjoying the tender moments of DISMEMBER above anything else. The divorced parents of six-year-old Trevor Pullman try as hard as they can to make sure that both are a part of his life, and their actions show that love in almost every scene.
What pulled me out of the story most of the time was the focus of the book, Davy.
***WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS***
Davy, although well portrayed as a child, turns out to be your average fiction psycho; driven by a single goal with no regard for the lives of those who stand in his way. He's your "I'm not Davy anymore, I'm Hank now - you're Davy now" killer, I'm sure everyone's familiar with the type. And although the character claws his way out of being one-dimensional here or there (promptly falling back into the pit before long), it just gets tiresome waiting to see what the full extent of his plan is. Oh, the things that Davy does are incredibly entertaining. The Davy Character, not so much.
The Libby/Marshall side story, I'm not entirely sure why it was there. The descriptions leading up to it are incredibly detailed, every action thoroughly explained up until the sort-of rape attempt, and every detail accounted for. Even the fact that Marshall might have been packing something heavier than your standard issue, since his bulge was 'bigger than she'd expected' from him. To be honest I just didn't get it. I *think* it was to show that Libby was a strong female lead, but ball-kicking alone doesn't make a strong heroine. She's so profoundly naive and waits silently 'in her place' most of the book that she could take on twenty samurai and still not be a strong female lead. But that's not her character's place at all, she's there for the motherly love and compassion, so why place her in an action seqence at all when she doesnt even fight in the finale when necessary? The entire scene just felt like it was filling up space that could have been used for more of Davy's interesting past. But it is what it is, it's there to read, and to be interpreted however the reader will.
***SPOILERS DISENGAGED, ENTERING PRAISE MODE***
The gripes of my own reading experience aside, the boys were amazingly well characterized. Zach and Trevor are some of the most realistic personas I've read. The gore and mayhem of DISMEMBER was well detailed and just right: not too much to pull you out of the action, but enough to paint a very gruesome image.
The ending, well... There are some people who will not yield for a Spoiler Alert, I'm one of them, so I won't mention it here. You'll have to read it for yourself and see how you feel about it. It left an ill flavor in my mouth after all of that. But despite my disappointment in the ending, I still chose to give the story five stars, which should give you some indication that I still absolutely loved getting to the Epilogue. It really is one hell of a journey to the end of the book, and well worth the money and the time to read it.
Five Stars and an overall satisfied reader.
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