Son of a Serial Killer - Jams N. Roses

Jams N. Roses has a talent for walking on the dark side and I have no hesitation whatsoever in awarding `Son of a Serial Killer' five stars.

Many years ago someone handed me a book to read with the words, "You might enjoy this." I can't remember what it was called now but it covered the true story of couple who picked up hitch-hikers in the California / Nevada desert areas, raped them, tortured them and inevitably killed them. I had no idea why this person felt I would enjoy this book but out of duty I read it, and against my better judgement found myself being so drawn to the main character that I started to feel sorry for the rapist-killer.

His upbringing was atrocious, and he was never, ever going to grow up to be a choirboy. Now as I set out to write a review of Serial Killer and not this other book, I mention this only in passing because Jams N. Roses has that same talent in that even though the reader knows the protagonist, Ben, is a killer he is drawn to him and desperately wants him to champion the evil forces within himself and return victorious.

And it is these evil forces that Roses defines so well, for the author explores the dark side of schizophrenia with a rare talent. Schizophrenia can be an alarming and agonising condition and Ben finds himself journeying through a world that is barren, demented and persecuted by distorted consciousness. He is disgusted and frightened by the face in the mirror.

However, if you think Ben is the only character in this book that is slightly unhinged, you're in for a treat. His girlfriend, Natalie, is a pure psychopath, working all the time towards whatever is in her own best interests with absolute no guilt feelings or capacity for remorse. She has no redeeming characters except her body which she uses to her advantage whenever she feels the need. The reader actually wants Ben to kill her.

But that isn't all. Roses explores cruel and detestable people as well as those who, to be less than delicate, are completely off their rocker. I won't spoil the story by giving away secrets, but you've got the detective inspector with the ubiquitous hip flask, her superior who is, as expected, on her case to `crack the case' and the mentally ill mother.

I thoroughly recommend this book.