By Susan Fleet
Pub. 2008, Lulu & Kindle
This brutal, dark and explicit novel has a compelling drive to the third-person narrative that makes it difficult to stop reading. In part, I suspect, readers may be drawn on by an almost irresistible desire to learn how much further the author is willing to go.
Set in one of the most provocative cities on the continent, New Orleans, the author has created a nasty killer of similar proportions. The Sinner stalks his victims with a relentless attention to detail that one begins to wonder if he’ll get away with his crimes. It reveals nothing to mention that he does meet an appropriate eventual end, because the mystery is in his identity, carefully concealed through most of the narrative.
As the title suggests, the psycho-sexual aberration at the heart of this killer’s impetus is rooted in an intense religiosity and the issues that raises. The sweaty pre-Katrina summer season in New Orleans only enhances the often oppressive feelings of many of the scenes.
The novel combines a multiplicity of viewpoints with several elements of subgenres of this kind of commercial fiction, relentless if sometimes mis-directed police procedures, multiple murders, obscure and difficult motives and complicated relationships between members of a pretty large cast. The tension between the detectives and a local reporter, for example, is very well explored, as are certain racial elements.
If there are a few lapses in logic, an occasional unexplained coincidence, and some dialogue gaffes, overall, Absolution stands out as a highly credible effort.