Book Review: Hungry Eyes

This book is not a "who-dunnit." The reader knows who the killer is by chapter two. Nor is it really a "why-dunnit:" the motivations of the killer are all too obvious. This book is a thriller that blurs the line between victim and victimizer. The barriers between sanity and madness, justice and revenge, social responsibility and all-out anarchy morph and fade into equivocal, paper-thin walls. Walls that the victims of our girl-poisioning society may be induced to punch through in desperate self-defense; in liberation; in self-ownership. Even in revenge.

Just when is murder morally / ethically justified?

When the victims of evil cannot take any more? If so, hasn't the damnage already been done--- not too late for punishment (or revenge for the sake of revenge) but much too late for reparation? Does the killing of a victimizer really make him pay for his predation? [I use the pronoun "him" deliberately, since most human predators are male.]

Is it ever morally right to murder, when the one murdered is a sociopathic predator of children? If so, who's the judge? Who's the jury? More importantly, who is the executioner?

MOST importantly, how much revenge is enough? How much pain, terror, anguish, fear, and death does it take to punish those who themselves inflict these afflictions upon others?

Hungry Eyes, by Barry Hoffman (ISBN 1-887368-12-4, hardcover, 254 pages with introduction and afterward, published by Gauntlet Publications 1997), explores these questions in an entertaining, thought-provoking way. Hoffman's modus operandi in answering these questions is simplicity itself: he lets his readers do it themselves. The author does not judge his creature for her killing spree: he merely provides her justification, and lets his readers judge if it is good enough.

That is not to say that the author is passive. Certainly not. He has clearly "chosen a side" (if that is a valid phrase) on the issue (in one set of circumstances, obviously: and a fictional one at that), which may or may not be the side the reader would choose.

The book is lean, well-written (I only noticed three gross literary errors), fast-paced, and easy to read. It is "breezy" without being superficial or cursory. There is nothing superfluous in this book: everything belongs.

If you like excellent, spicy horror / thriller fiction, and main characters who live real, naked, lives (scars included), you will want to read this book. On a scale from one to six stars (six being best), I think this book deserves four stars. I think you will enjoy it.

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