The Blurb: A shadow haunts the sunny streets of Venice Beach, working his way through all the women and valuables he can handle. So far he's been lucky. But too much of a good thing makes a man careless; he gets sloppy, he lets down his guard. From bizarre arrest to explosive conclusion, Freak is a wild rollercoaster of a ride, featuring impossible escapes, a dizzying manhunt, and a gothic mini-movie of a courtroom confession, wherein you'll meet the real Nicolas Vilenov, slippery opportunist and soulless predator, bogeyman of a thousand suppressed dreams.
I reviewed this work independently on Amazon a while back. I am giving away my purchased copy of the book this month. Details at the end of the review.
Freak is a thrilling and entertaining read. It has a little bit of everything: The sad pathetic tortured soul, a little mysticism and sci-fi, and a damn fine crime drama, without the overly cliché cop/attorney speak. The book is extremely dialog dependent, which gives it the intimacy of a first person narrative, while allowing for continued shifts in points of view - and dimension.
This story also makes some rather demanding statements regarding the degradation of women in today's society - the undeniably beautiful, egregiously disturbed, fashion magazine brainwashed women - so easily taken in, used, and abused. This story also speaks to the power that our media possesses. In the endless search for ratings, criminal acts spin into fantastic stories of terror, often turning criminals into Gods.
Mr. Sanders weaves together many common elements and themes into one captivating and suspenseful story: The dark, mysterious stranger, having his way with a bevy of females who seem to lack even basic self-control; a gritty crime drama; compelling courtroom scenes; murder; crazed fanatical media-obsessed civilians; not to mention the media's sleazy hold on the public; a wrenching tale of childhood abuse; mass hysteria; panic stricken citizens converging in the streets; mob rule; rioting; car chases; apache helicopters; a city in flames ... all leading up to an edge of your seat conclusion sure to send the reader into a dizzying frenzy.
And if that wasn't entirely enough ...
Then there is the antagonist of the story, or protagonist depending on how you choose to see him, is spine-chillingly disturbing in a surreal serial-killer/magician sort of blend. I got the willies from the very first chapter. Vilanov has all the subtle command and fierceness to him of classic Stoker's Dracula with a hint of Charlie Manson - powerfully hypnotic. So hypnotic that it begs the question: Did Vilanov actually commit any wrongdoing, other than sidestepping society's definition of morality? Or was he merely expressing the savagery of a man's search for true manhood in an emasculated world?
I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a little American Psycho, a little Fight Club, blended together with a little Stephen King.
Giveaway Details: Comment on this post by Midnight, Sunday November 30th. A name will be drawn randomly and will be announced on Monday December 1. If your name is announced as the winner, please email: podpeep at gmail dot com with your snail mail address. Good Luck!
Reviewed by: Cheryl Anne Gardner