In this dark psychological thriller/horror, The One Percenters, the reader has an insight into the mind of Edward Caine, who believes himself to be a one-percenter. A one percenter is one that can assist the natural selection process by ending the lives of those that do not seem fit to breed. Those that are only alive due to advances in medicine, technology and money.
Edward did not always think in this manner but after his wife’s rape and murder by a serial killer his mind drifts over time (and over a drink or two!) and he begins his mentally spiralling journey. His wife, Jill, was a good, loving human being with a kind heart. She was innocent. She didn’t deserve to die. In fact, Jill would have been perfect in the natural selection process, with her beauty and all. She most definitely wouldn’t have been picked by a one percenter!
Ed’s character, I thought, was fairly easy to connect with considering all he had been through with Jill. He is bitter and begins wanting revenge for her murder. However, as his thoughts become so dark as to even consider taking lives of those that had absolutely nothing to do with what happened, the reader begins to understand how disturbed this guy is. Although the connection largely gets lost by this point, I felt I just had to read on to know the outcome as John Podgursky leaves the reader asking questions of what path Ed is going to take and what will become of him.
In the beginning, even though it is a serious subject matter and Ed is in a state of depression and drink after losing Jill, he is so open with his thoughts that some off-the-wall suggestions and sarcastic, cynical remarks are made. However, as the novel continues it does become much more darker and serious.
The story is told from Ed’s POV. The written style of The One Percenters is as if Ed were talking to the reader directly as he tells his story in first person, past tense and the use of language is quite direct. The use of the direct and casual language can, at times, lighten the mood by making Ed’s cynical, sarcastic remarks a little comical. Because of this, I did find myself smiling to myself in some instances at Ed’s dry humour. Due to the written style it is a fairly quick read and set at a reasonable pace.
I was initially surprised as it read as a narrative from Ed’s POV. I was expecting the story to be told in third person, however after reading the story, that idea certainly wouldn’t work so well on the psychological side. I was also expecting the story to follow fellow one-percenter , as the synopsis mentioned ‘Edward and his brethren’. The further into the book you delve the more psycholgical horror you come across as Ed’s actions and indeed his thoughts become darker and darker. This story is definitely not for the faint of heart. The One Percenters is an adult read due to the seriousness of Ed’s thoughts and the violence and pyschological horror that this story offers.
There is a reference to ‘Doctor’ every now and then. This makes the reader think that Ed is possibly speaking to a psychiatrist at the end of the book. Will this be revealed towards the end? What will become of Ed, and will he accomplish what he set out to do? The reader has many questions and must read to the very end to reveal the full truth of this great thriller.
It is the significance of Jill’s rape and murder that start Ed’s pyschological problems. She was so innocent, so helpless. Ed begins to question the behaviour of humans and life, which leads to him believing that those that are ill, are ill for a reason: they are weak and so must die. It is only through money, technology and medicine that the ill are kept alive. This in-turn allows them to breed and pass on their weak genes and possibly weakening mankind. He, as a chosen one-percenter must help control this and eliminate these people. Will Ed allow his thoughts to control his actions, or will he give in?
I would like to thank the author, John Podgursky, for providing us a copy of his book in return for an honest and fair review. If you would like to contact the author, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker