FREAK by Ron Sanders

FREAK

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Graphic sex, violence and language permeate Sanders’s first novel, an in-your-face thriller set in sunny Southern California.

After a confusing start in which scenes race at the reader from all angles, prose and imagery settle and develop into a mainly fast-paced plot. When a nosey landlady suspects foul play in her tenant’s apartment, Marilyn Purly, a troubled young beauty, becomes the focus of police surveillance. She receives regular visits from Nicolas Vilenov, a dubious character who seems to have a mesmerizing affect on Purly. A frightened neighborhood, police raid and sodomized victim land Vilenov in jail as a serial-rapist suspect. Vilenov hires Lawrence Abram, a savvy criminal attorney who accepts only high-profile cases with affluent clients. He tells Abram that he uses pheromones, chemicals that provide superenhanced animal magnetism, to produce a temporary hypnotic effect on his victims–later, they have no memory of events occurring while under his influence. When Abram fails to procure his immediate release, Vilenov escapes, leaving behind a trail of disemboweled police officers and no clues. His arrest and subsequent escape bring him a notoriety that begins to have a domino effect–Purly is found brutally disfigured and dead, while pictures of Vilenov headline every area news broadcast and paper. Women emerge from the woodwork, claiming they have been raped by him, and though semen samples are found in more than 70 homes, mysteriously, no hard evidence links Vilenov to any prosecutable activities. During the investigation into his past, the villain-protagonist Vilenov emerges as a sensual, almost pitiable character in an atmosphere driven by passions, rather than intellect. The public begins to perversely idealize him, and dubs him “The Houdini-rapist.” Vilenov is violently recaptured and brought before judge and jury, but life-threatening injuries can’t keep this man down. He soon escapes again, triggering an explosive manhunt.

Maximal sensory overload but minimal depth perception.

Pub Date: June 27th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-6151-4237-1
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: