Debut author Doosay offers a disjointed collection of dark, violent stories.
In the correctional facility known as the Sanctuary of Humiliation for Women, an entire wing is filled with female escorts who have been convicted of murder. Female guards delight in fondling these inmates and demanding sexual gratification from them. The book switches among these scenes of humiliation, inmate reminiscences of the crimes that landed them in prison, and the murderous plotting of prison guards and inmate family members. Pacing is swift and there’s plenty of action, but many of the plot twists go too far. Within hours of meeting new people, escorts are entering into homicidal agreements, often for slim motivations—e.g., a client wants his homosexual friend dead so as to avoid the possibility of ever being sexually approached by him. Motivations for the murders of the escorts are comparably thin; in one instance, an escort is so afraid of dogs that she kills every dog she meets, then kills the owners, her clients, for good measure. Other plot points are similarly unconvincing, as when people drown a woman at sea and then bring her body into the boat to escape detection. Narrative threads apparently intended to provide continuity instead provide only confusion, as when the boat used in one murder is sold to another person who uses it in a different murder or when an inmate’s sister becomes an escort herself and also becomes involved in murder. Credibility is stretched further still when the prison guards start becoming involved in killing sprees as well. Odd phrasing (“just then as I was settling into a feeling of lesbianism—Sue had to go”) and cryptic comments (“when the woman fell pregnant, her supposedly male lover blamed her for this unexpected childbearing experience”) detract from reading pleasure, as does the somewhat arbitrary conclusion. Without a central plotline, the book meanders through gruesome tale after gruesome tale before limping to a disappointing finale. The emotional complexity that could make such grittiness work just isn’t there.
A fast-paced, action-packed story that’s seamy but ultimately unsatisfying.