Monday, December 17, 2012
Forgive Me, Alex by Lane Diamond Blog Tour Review/Giveaway
Tony Hooper stands in shadow across the street, one amongst many in the crowd of curiosity-hounds gathered to watch a monster’s release. Seventeen years after Mitchell Norton, “the devil,” terrorized Algonquin, Illinois on a spree of kidnapping, torture and murder, the authorities release the butcher from psychiatric prison.
Tony longs to charge across the street to destroy Norton—no remorse—as if stepping on a cockroach. Only sheer force of will prevents his doing so.
“The devil” walks the world again. What shall Tony do about it? Aye, what indeed.
After all, this is what Tony does. It’s who he is. “The devil” himself long ago made Tony into this hunter of monsters. What a sweet twist of fate this is, that he may still, finally, administer justice.
Will FBI Special Agent Linda Monroe stop him? She owes him her life, so how can she possibly put an end to his?
Tony Hooper and Mitchell Norton battle for supremacy, with law enforcement always a step away, in this story of justice and vengeance, evil and redemption, fear and courage, love and loss.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The title had me intrigued as to what paths this story was going to take. I loved the format that the author used. While the story bounced around, I had no problem keeping up with which character was talking and what scene they were in. The genre of the book was what originally drew me in, but the storyline was one that had me hooked from the first paragraph. I can't wait to read more from the author :) If you like to REALLY get into a killer's head, then this thriller is the book for you :)
Mitchell Norton, the man I've long considered the devil, smiles atop the courthouse steps and waves to the simmering crowd. He tilts his head back to soak in the sunshine and cool breeze of the late spring day, the tranquility of which stands in stark contrast to the circumstances of this event.
The mere sight of him pushes me to the dark edge of my mind, where sanity hangs like... like... like a balloon in a tornado!
I stand in shadow across the street, one amongst many in the crowd of curiosity-hounds gathered to watch a monster's release. As my face blazes, fists clench and teeth grind, I can easily imagine the onset of a stroke, an aneurism, a pulmonary embolism, a raging scream—
Control yourself, Tony!
I long to charge across the street to destroy him—no remorse—as if stepping on a cockroach. Only sheer force of will prevents my doing so.
For seventeen years, I assumed this day would never come. How could they even consider releasing this vile creature, this very personification of evil?
In 1978, Norton murdered innocent kids who'd barely tasted of life. He tortured two of them beyond the limits of rational imagination, for to imagine such deeds was to summon a devilry that we dared not face. Yet the jury held him not responsible, a victim himself to the ravages of an illness that drove him to insanity beyond our reckoning.
He thus resides forever in the darkest pit of my psyche, chained to me in perpetuity. Now only two choices remain: I must cast off those chains, or yank them tight around his neck. Yes, I must obtain satisfaction. The idiotic jury seventeen years ago, and today's flawed court system, has left little recourse. No one else seems willing to deliver him to justice.
I am willing. After all, this is what I do. It's who I am. Indeed, the devil himself made me into this hunter of monsters. What a sweet twist of fate this is, that I may still, finally, administer justice.
He descends the stairs toward his waiting car with an arrogant swagger, watching the small group of protestors, the news reporters, and the police officers here to ensure a peaceful transition, as if to challenge them. His wicked grin never waivers.
Oh, that grin. For seventeen years it has taunted me, punished me for my indecision, my incompetence. I missed my chance to kill him in 1978, to remove his damned head—simple, as if cutting a sheet of paper. It would have been a fitting end for a monster.
Why did I let him live?
Like whispers in a storm, those memories only tease at me now, here at this obscene and maddening event. I'm trying not to relive every moment of 1978. Every time I do, I feel as if swimming in quicksand, anchored by my constant companions—sorrow and guilt. I'm too damned tired; can't shake the confusion, the dread. I fear surrendering to fear.
My life teems with just such wretched ironies.
As Norton vanishes inside a black sedan—looks like standard-issue law enforcement—I dash through the crowds to my van. Despite this call to action, my mind again zeroes-in on memories of 1978. I recall the court proceedings, particularly the devil's own twisted testimony, as though it were yesterday. I've only relived it ten thousand times.
Then twenty-six, Norton was a man-child who'd never quite grasped the nuance of adulthood. He continued to wash dishes at a restaurant, ten years into the only job he'd ever held. He found it comfortable and unchallenging—perfect. He harbored no great yearnings, nor imagined exciting possibilities, nor sought lucrative rewards.
Then everything changed. He said that was when his new life emerged, when he became more aware, even more intelligent. He better understood the world around him. He discovered what he called "The Purpose" in the spring of 1978, and it guided his every deed. He claimed he became a man that year.
I remember it quite clearly as the year he became the devil.
The words I wrote in my diary at the time return to me, a personal anthem more relevant than ever: Rage flows like lava through my veins. My soul slowly roasts upon the flames. How did I ever let it come to this?
Now mortality, as it did seventeen years ago, lingers above me like the hangman's noose. Yet it looms more ominous than ever, as if it will drop down around my neck at any moment. After all, I know the true Mitchell Norton. And whom shall I fear if not the devil, the grim torturer who conquered my aspirations and left me without a recognizable world of my own?
Or is it me that I fear? The man I've become? The man Norton made me?
Some fancy maneuvering is required to escape the crowds and the police at the courthouse. I manage to keep Norton in sight, zigzagging between lanes and keeping several vehicles between us, hanging back far enough to avoid detection without losing him. Uncertain emotions bubble up, some indecipherable combination of dread and anticipation, fear and excitement, vengeance and sorrow. I must know where he'll make his home, information that has been difficult to obtain, as the authorities are concerned with Norton's security.
Give me a break! They should express their security concerns not for the devil himself, but for his next victims.
Oh yes, I know Norton too well. He will torture, murder and dismember again. The temptation will be too great to resist.
I saw him up close in 1978, looked into the soul of the devil, as we waded through the blood and gore he'd spilled. I couldn't fathom his unrepentant pleasure, the sick thrill, his gleeful anticipation.
Now he's out of prison, again free to call up his demons, to torture the innocent, to waltz to what he once called his "symphony of screams."
The devil walks the world again.
What shall I do about it? Aye, what indeed.
I write fiction, long and short. My writings cross over many genres and focus on diverse subjects, ranging from the mysteries of the human mind, with its fragile psychological and emotional states, to the everyday joy and anguish of life on Earth. Ultimately, characters move me – as both a reader and an author. It’s all about the people. When not writing, I’m Publisher and Executive Editor at Evolved Publishing.
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