Author: Robert Raker
Publisher: Wattle Publishing
RRP: PB: £8.99 | Kindle & eBook: £5.99
Synopsis: 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.
Entropy makes for a different type of crime drama. The story is about the impact that the killings have on the individual as opposed to the mystery of who done it and how/why. It focuses on the inner thoughts of these individuals whose lives are changed for the worse forever. These lives belong to those who are parents of a murder victim, a diver who witnesses and retrieves the dead, an undercover agent who has to pretend to be like these calculating and manipulative sex offenders/paedophiles, and also a member of the public who believes they know who is responsible.
What is fascinating about Entropy, is that the story is written from four very different perspectives, each one being written in first person. The first person allows the reader to be that particular character, to see inside their mind and feel every thought. It is a very strong and powerful connection and it grows as the story moves on and we hear from all four characters. Not only do they have the murders of these children to connect them, there is also another situation that brings these particular four together, without each of them realising the first connection they all have. Each section from all four characters ties in to make more of a narrative than the reader suspects.
The first section, told from the diver’s point of view, is extremely informative of each murder scene. Being a diver by profession, he falls into the role of assisting the police during times when they haven’t the time or manpower to provide their own. It is very interesting to read from this perspective, as it is quite shocking and difficult at times for the diver to deal with what he is seeing and dealing with. This is a completely different take on a crime scene, and I would imagine that not many have spent too long pondering on how one, such as a diver, would cope under these extraordinary devastating experiences.
The former celloist has many dark issues to contend with. Recently being involved in an accident which disfigured him plays a huge role in how it affected the one thing that he truly loved: music. Not only damaging to his career, but due to his introvert behaviour since, he has become distanced from his wife. His life is at a very dark moment. During this time he has been provided with information concerning the murders and has a strong suspicion on the culprit. Only his intention is not to take his suspicion to the police but to handle it his own way, taking out all of his anger and problems on the one person who truly deserves it.
During this second section it became clearer that Entropy is a heavy story, with little dialogue at times. There is a great deal of information to take in, and moments when I wanted to go back and re-read some points. It is very cleverly put together and interesting looking at each perspective in detail.
This section reminded me of ‘Legends‘ (tv series starring Sean Bean), where the undercover element of their job causes them to forget who they really are and has a strong, and sometimes damaging, impact on their personal life. The agent in this instance cannot let his wife in and it becomes clear why. The agent has to try and infiltrate a group of paedophiles. Although his role is necessary and he is carrying out his duties for all of the right reasons, it does make him sick at times, especially when he comes across photo’s of children to be sold and one is a familiar face linked to the murders.
At times part of the story is sickening with some graphic details of what was carried out with some of the victims. It does feel very real when you’re reading this. Some readers may not like parts of this section, however these lines are needed for the story and to allow the reader to realise just how some of these victims were treated.
From the words and context it is written, I was easily able to grasp the dark, powerful emotions that the agent’s wife is feeling and the pain that she faces on a daily basis. It is similar in some ways to the wife of the musician, how both women are left feeling quite alone, and abandoned by their partner emotionally.
…. Everything is so vacant here so I leave and go out to dinner all dressed up and alone. I sit outside because it’s cool and calm. I look for you in the people on the street, even though I know you’re not going to be there. The waiter feels sorry for me. I can see it in his eyes when he pours me a glass of red wine. I don’t even care that he can probably see my breasts in that dress. I want him to touch me, to ask me to stand up, and to take me right there outside, in the peaceful breeze. The hard truth is that I want another man, any man, a stranger to fuck me so that I can just feel something, and not feel like I am wasting away….
The final chapter follows the mother of a victim. She has lost her child to a sex offending murderer, and this she finds incredibly difficult to live with. Her life has been torn apart and will never be the same again. To make matters worse, she has a husband who left her due to his infidelity. She is at a loss. The world she knew has gone.
It is an emotional read and one that will stay with you. But it does make the reader think about consequences, how one action can lead to so many more. It allows you to empathise with each character as we are taken on a journey through the lives of these individuals and can feel the devastating affects which lead to them all being in the same place at the same time.
I love the bus scene at the end of each section which ties all of the characters together, as well as the murders. Entropy is certainly a story which needs to be read until the very end before everything becomes clear. Each character looks within themselves for answers of the repercussions following the murders. They all ask themselves, and some mentally ask their partners, ‘what went wrong?’ Each story, as the synopsis suggests, is quite individual even though that one or two circumstances bring them together.
A copy of Entropy was provided by Wattle Publishing for the purpose of an honest and fair review.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker
Robert Raker graduated with a degree in Journalism from the University of Pittsburgh. He currently resides in Philadelphia where he enjoys art, music, literature and live theater. He is currently working on his next novel.
Link to retailers: http://wattlepublishing.com/catalogue/entropy/