by Timothy McDougall

"Brutality against the innocent was usually pushed off the front pages nowadays in short order in favor of more easy to stomach fare, but Crotty couldn't count on that."

Noel Anderson is a Chicago-area builder who had a lousy childhood. However, thanks to his attractive wife Karen and daughter, Tristan Anderson's life has become an urban dream. Everything changes when three thugs who had earlier been at the house doing lawn maintenance come back when Anderson is not at home. They rape and murder Karen and kill Tristan. Anderson relies on the judicial system for justice, but is disappointed when the three plead to lesser charges and one even goes free. Anderson then embarks on a personal journey to rediscover a semblance of self, while never forgetting that the men who killed his family have yet to pay for their crimes.

Violence is McDougall's first novel, although he has written and directed an independent film. The story adds humor and explores desire in an attempt to reveal one man's journey to overcome the past. Scenes of prison/criminal behavior are well-rendered and believable. During the lengthy trial sequence, in the middle part of the book, the plot and main character disappear for a stretch while lawyers and witnesses are paraded front and center. However, Mc Dougall knows the American legal system well and its tendency to favor sure-fire, quick convictions over obtaining justice, which plays a critical part in propelling the story.

Return to USR Home