Sunday, June 16, 2013

Darcia Helle's Novel, Killing Instinct, Not for Squeamish But Excellent Story of Revenge and Justice...Haunting Characters Indeed!

"Sean glanced over at the workbench with what looked like longing in his eyes. Then he told Michael what
Jake had requested. Slow torture. Lots of suffering. Photos. Audio recording. Video.
"Audio and video?" Michael repeated in disbelief. "He wanted you to record the torture?"
"As unbelievable as that sounds." Sean said. "He wanted shots of her suffering. Close-ups of the wounds.
Essentially, a snuff film without the sexual content.
"Okay, that's beyond twisted. Did he say why he wanted these extras? Or why he wanted her to suffer?"
"...Sean got up, picked a screwdriver off the workbench and tapped it against his thigh....She's at my house."
"Who is?"
"Maria. The woman I was supposed to kill."

Violence In FictionI write suspense. Topics I’ve covered include domestic abuse, religious cults and hired killers. The nature of my chosen genre requires a certain level of detail to the violent scenes. But how much is too much?No doubt, if I asked ten people this question, I’d get at least five different answers. Each of us has our own limit, and tolerance varies widely. Maybe a better question would be, how much is enough? Read more...

"Over the past few hours, with prodding
from the remaining sewing needles, a
well-placed hammer, and his knowledge
of pressure points, he learned all about
the inner workings of Morpheus..."
Killing Instinct:
A Michael Sykora Novel

By Darcia Helle

If you get queasy when reading some scenes of murder,
please know that this is a graphic violent novel. I have
linked you to an article by the author so that you can learn
about her issues in writing her novels.

I admit I got squeamish at some of the scenes. so, frankly, I went looking on her site to see if there was anything related to the inclusion of torture details... I must say that I understood what she meant about the characters driving the acts, and It was persuasive for me, so much so that I wanted to read the first two books in the Michael Sykora series, so quickly downloaded copies for some weekend reading...

"William nodded as he passed, turning left only the
wide hallway leading toward the holding area. Jake
would have been spending his time in one of the many
soundproofed seven-by-five cells they'd built on this
wing. They housed all their stock separately. The
isolation kept them more manageable. Compliant.
Desperate. Terrified.
"Stock. That's how he thought of them. Merchandise.
Inventory. Their humanity rarely entered his mind.
"Jake had been brought to the intake room on the
near end of the holding area. Adam, one of their
long-time and most trusted employees, stood outside
the door. He straightened slightly when he spotted
William. "Hey, Boss," he said. "Lenny's inside with
the prey. Jake."
"William almost corrected Adam's choice of nouns.
Prey irritated him. The word sounded vulgar, somehow.
Made him think of pedophiles, which he serviced but
didn't want to associate himself with. He was aware,
though, that most of the men working the factory
referred to their stock this way. And this wasn't the
time to make a stand on that issue. He'd mention it to
Lenny. Dealing with the help wasn't his job.
"Adam pushed the door open and William stepped into
the room. The first thing he noticed was the repugnant
smell of fear. Hot and sour, it made William recoil
I liked the cover. No pictures could portray "killing instinct" anyway, right? Yet there were four male lead characters who could be classified as having that Instinct (many more, in fact) and Darcia Helle did an excellent job in creating the psychological background so that readers can quickly understand exactly what type of individual these four men are.

Michael Sykora, the lead character, got involved after his fiancee was murdered. All he was able to feel for any type of justice was through revenge...

He took it...

And now he is in the business of helping others when someone they love have been brutalized or murdered...

He's very good at it...

So is Sean, his partner. He was an assassin who somehow got hooked up with Michael (haven't read the how of that yet--LOL). But as you will see from the narrative, Michael has been influential in teaching Sean to first stop to think about what he's being asked to do. Especially for Maria. He fell for her immediately, but it was more than that... He could not grasp a need to torture and film somebody unless...

Yes, the man who wanted her dead wanted to have a snuff film for his vast collection and, of course, to sell as well... This man is the Sandman...

He's runs a business something like Fantasy Island--except it relates to providing the "right individual" for what your fantasy is... And that leads to the fourth man, Lenny, who, like William, considers those individual his livestock...he's in it for the money and has no feelings for that stock as people for whom he should care...

Since Sean had saved Maria rather than killing her, as soon as he had shared what had been planned for her, she wanted to be involved. She had been a bounty hunter and worked security, so was well prepared.

Michael was now involved with Nicky. While she didn't have the same background and training, after meeting Maria and learning about what these men were doing, she demanded to be involved too. Michael was afraid, given his major loss in the past, but Nicky wouldn't back down. So all of them were involved, trying to track down who the Sandman was, why he wanted Marie dead, and then as the two groups knew about each other, a friend of Marie's who worked for the bounty hunting office, was taken...and tortured... Michael and Sean gambled that they would not really harm her, pending a potential trade for Marie...or at a minimum, adding her to the stock--after all, anybody still alive can help fulfill "somebody's" fantasy...

I don't know about you, but given the "real" atrocities that happen every day in America--murder, kidnapping, human trafficing, rape--it has become more acceptable to read about vigilantes, revenge and justice (payback).
If the government and law enforcement cannot take the real criminals off the streets, would we be happy to encourage men like Michael and Sean to act? It's a scary thought...

And too easy to understand...

Darcia Helle writes to entertain us...
But she also says the characters await us...
Murder as Entertainment. I write about murder - gruesome murder, bizarre murder, murder for hire and murder as revenge. What I write is fiction. Mine is a make-believe world of murder as entertainment.
I'd like to take a noble stance and say that I don't enjoy writing the murder scenes. But I do. That's creepy to admit out loud, I know. I kill people on paper and I like it. How did this happen?
The truly odd thing is that I am a total pacifist. I even feel bad when I kill a mosquito and I despise mosquitoes. So why is it that I enjoying writing murder scenes? Read more...
I liked the fact that she provides info on her "gruesome" writing. LOL! And I have to say that her characters and their actions were sometimes edgier than I could handle--so I read those parts quickly, but those needles stuck in my mind through the night...excuse the pun...Funny how one scene bothered me, but when it was the man getting the needles, it didn't...hmmm...

"The room was in shadows, and Michael didn't want to direct his flashlight in their faces. He heard soft murmurs and what sounded like sniffles. "Is someone crying?"
"She's been reading about that that psychiatrist did..."
"Dr. Eric Wilkinson needs to pay for what he did."
"She stared straight at Sean when she said this. Something invisible passed between them, an unspoken understanding. Sean nodded and said, "Consider it done."

Obviously if I went out and got the first two books in this series, I "got past" the fictional torture. But what sold me was the ending. When it comes right down to it, I'm willing to agree, at least in fiction, it is not just black and white...There's an awfully lot of gray, isn't there? I think the author did an exceptional job in working within the gray area and even coming out white in some ways... I know what I mean by that--I hope you do too...

Highly recommended.


About the Author
Darcia Helle lives in a fictional world with a husband who is sometimes real. Their house is ruled by spoiled dogs and cats and the occasional dust bunny. Suspense, random blood spatter and mismatched socks consume Darcia’s days. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative. Only then are the voices free to haunt someone else’s mind. Join Darcia in her fictional world: The characters await you.
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