Entropy, Robert Raker

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When a series of child abductions and murders disrupt the life of an economically blighted community, the consequences have far-reaching implications. The brutal crimes take a different toll on a disparate group of individuals; the scuba diver who retrieves the children’s bodies; the disfigured cellist who thinks he knows who’s responsible; the undercover federal agent; and the mother of one of the victim’s. United in a situation not of their choosing, they are forced to take a deep, introspective look into their intersected, yet isolated lives.

Publisher: Wattle Publishing, Nov 2013

Reviewer:  Briony Stebbings

Entropy is centred around a series of horrific child murders in an American community suffering badly from the economic downturn. The story is told from the perspective of four different people that are each affected very differently by these dreadful circumstances, the four stories are completely separate but all somehow intertwined.

This book pulls no punches and straight away drags you deep into the misery and desperation felt by this community, it is far from a comfortable read but it is compelling. I found myself needing to know what happened next whilst also just not wanting to, it is graphic and deep and hard, the personal relationships the story focuses on are far from happy but they are real. The four different perspectives are almost four completely different books, that just happen to be written about the same subject, so just happen to have some common themes and incidents. This is not a book with a start, middle and end. It is a book of four middles. As such this makes it very different from what I have read before.

You start with a local diver who despite being a civilian has been asked by local police to help with the recovery of the bodies, this section of the book gives you the most detail about the actual murders and what is happening, it is also the longest section to the book and the part I enjoyed the most. You see how this job he has fallen into is changing his life and how he is struggling to cope with this dreadful calling, personal tragedy and a failing marriage.

We then move onto a musician who is dealing with severe mental health issues, only to find that he is perhaps related to the murderer. He is asked to do something dreadful but potentially cleansing and we follow his decision making process and find out a bit about his life before it was completely turned upside down.

An undercover officer takes over the story telling, struggling to come to terms with the different personas he has had to live and to some degree become he is asked to infiltrate a paedophile ring whilst still raw from previous traumatic cases but this stands to destroy him as it destroys his marriage.

Finally we have the mother of one of the victims who following a desperately sad and tragic childhood, suffers at the hands of her mentally abusive husband and then loses her only child in such awful circumstances – what is left for her?

Then the book stops. Just stops. There is no real ending. No questions answered. Nothing wrapped up. Until it ended I loved this book, really loved it, I was finding it difficult to put down at night reading until the small hours but now it has ended and I’m left feeling cheated and somewhat annoyed. This makes reviewing it tough, as when it comes down to it I don’t know if I could recommend it or not. When I first started it then yes I would have gladly told anyone who would listen to read it. Halfway through I would have been the same. Getting towards the end I would have been concerned as there weren’t enough pages left to give it the ending it deserved and I would have hated to have seen a rushed ending but now I’m wondering would a rushed ending have been better than no ending at all?

 

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