Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bleedout by Joan Brady *****

Bleedout by Joan Brady follows the life of David Marion, not given his surname until he entered school and someone thought it was most appropriate to name him for a federal penitentiary. David is an intriguing mixture of genius potential and street orphan opportunity. The result is an inviting mixture of cleverness and violence. Though he is a killer, he is also a sympathetic. Even as he murders, it is easy to understand his violence.

In a mixture of David Copperfield and Pygmalion, David's mentor wonders,
Is it punishment for the sin of pride that David the murderer is the only person who could help me now? That what I destroyed is what I need?
Bleedout showcases the extraordinary plotting and characterization of an award-winning novelist in her first foray into the thriller genre.

History rarely records the specific autobiographical details that inspire an author. In a notable exception, Dostoevsky is known to have suffered from gambling debts and malnutrition while writing about Raskolnikov's very similar situation in the opening of Crime and Punishment.

Joan Brady's opening author's note breaks the traditional silence on this topic with the following:
If we get right to the heart of things, the South Hams District Council is responsible for the existence of this book. ... I have named the fictional South Hams State Prison in their honor.
Interestingly, her conflict with the council had to do with poisonous shoe glue and modifications to historic buildings, neither of which appear in this excellent book. Maybe this is why we rarely hear of author's inspirations.

One of the best book of the summer.

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