Amazon Link: Come Join the Murder, Holly Rae Garcia
This review was undertaken as part of a Blackthorn Book Tour. I purchased the book myself. This is my honest review.
This book is chilling.
Chilling because at its heart – though it is written at first as if it might be just another work of standard genre fiction – there is a terrible truth about the human heart, about revenge, and about justice. Rebecca’s son and husband are missing. And then her son’s body is found, murdered, at the bottom of a canal in her husband’s car.
Rebecca is a good person. She’s a mother. She’s us. Any of us.
At first the book is a study in grief. There were moments there, at the start, when I could barely read on. I felt it. The helpless, empty aching void of losing a child. The unbearable loss. The unbearable anger. The unbearable paralysis of helplessness. Anything would be better than that. So Rebecca finds something she can do. She can give her child justice. The killer must pay.
From then on in, the book is a desperate, spiralling journey into darkness. I won’t say more of the plot. But you should read it.
This book achieves the unusual feat of being both a parable and a psychologically compelling study. I could see the parable unfolding, and guessed where it must inevitably go, but the characters were so real, so believable – so terribly recognisable (hmmm. I must rid my house of mirrors) – that I never felt that they were merely “vehicles” for the moral of the story. There was something universal in the forces portrayed but the hearts were exquisitely human.
It would be nice to believe that the moral of the story was that “we should leave justice to the state: courts and governments will do it properly, dispassionately, correctly; they will get it right.” After all, every state and society seeks to punish murder (unless one counts those murders that they have themselves ordered and sanctioned…) Civilized societies do so by judiciously taking away liberty for long enough that the killer can think long and hard about the loss of their own years, can learn about what life means, and can, perhaps, repent. Uncivilised ones just join the murder: a life for a life, the lynching, the electric chair, the sterile but lethal injection. Sometimes, of course, they get the wrong man. But at least someone has paid.
It doesn’t stop there. Occasionally, like Rebecca, societies go quite mad about it. When a group from Saudi Arabia killed 2,977 people in the 9/11 attacks, America and much of Europe, linked in their grief and horror and anger at what had been done, decided to join the murder by waging war on the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. The subsequent “war on terror” resulted in well over a 100,000 deaths, including those of many thousands of American and European soldiers. The dead people had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, any of them. But never mind. If one can’t get the right people, then at least someone has paid. Some of them must have been baddies. It appears to bring a certain catharsis. At the beginning most of the world seemed to approve. Even at the end, the war on terror had its advocates.
Come Join the Murder is a powerful, deeply disturbing story. Don’t imagine it’s just a book about motherhood, about a mother’s love, and about that (oh how fiction loves it!) capacity of a woman to go mad. Yes, it covers all of those. But it’s also a book about the human condition. And its final scene is the final scene for all of us.
Review by CRheilan, July 2020
This review was written as a contribution to a Blackthorn Book Tour. It is my honest review of a verified purchase.
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Amazon Link: Come Join the Murder, Holly Rae Garcia
Publisher’s information about the book
“This is a novel I would read and reread and recommend to others. Fans of vigilante and desperado revenge will delight in this horror story.” — Horror Tree.
Rebecca Crow’s four-year-old son is dead, and her husband is missing.
Divers find her husband’s car at the bottom of a canal with their son’s small, lifeless body, inside. The police have no suspects and nothing to go on but a passing mention of a man driving a van. Guilt and grief cloud Rebecca’s thoughts as she stumbles towards her only mission: Revenge.
James Porter knows exactly what happened to them, but he’ll do anything to keep it a secret.
James didn’t plan to kill Rebecca’s son, but he’s not too broken up about it, either. There are more important things for him to worry about. He needs money, and his increasing appetite for murder is catching the attention of a nosy detective.
Author Bio – Holly Rae Garcia’s debut novel, Come Join the Murder, was released on March 27th, 2020 by Close to the Bone Publishing (UK). Her short fiction has been published by Siren’s Call, The Bookends Review, Rue Scribe, Pen to Print, The Australian Writers’ Centre, and Trembling With Fear along with a few anthologies. Holly lives on the Texas Coast with her family and five dogs.
My Website: https://www.hollyraegarcia.com/
Book’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084FHXZZL
Book’s Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50978801-come-join-the-murder