Burning Rage

Fiction - Thriller - General
340 Pages
Reviewed on 10/20/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Don Banting has a child and youth care diploma and a teaching degree. Burning Rage is Don’s second published book. Don has written four screenplays along with several short stories. Don’s interests include probability, philosophy, crime and psychology. Don has always cared for the less fortunate and donates his time and monetarily to several worthy agencies in Edmonton. Don currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite

Burning Rage by Don Banting is a story addressing a life that many people cannot possibly imagine. Jess had grown up as an outcast, incapable of making friends. When her father left the family when she was ten years old, she felt it was her fault. Her mother did nothing to help her self-esteem by criticizing her constantly. Now, as an adult, Jess needed something more in her life. Laura Martin worked for The Guardian Newspaper and enjoyed her newfound relationship with Garret and his daughter Brandy. She spent quality time with Garret since the serial arsonist she had been assigned to was finally collared. Brandy’s birthday was coming up, and Laura wanted to make sure that Brandy knew she was loved. Two days before her birthday, Garret wasn’t able to contact her. When her boyfriend told him that she hadn’t come home from her evening jog, Laura found herself with Garret, falling apart like he had when his wife had passed away. Two weeks later, Jess disappeared from her job and went missing. What happened to the two women?

Don Banting painted a scene of what the lack of human compassion and connection could do to a person. The flashbacks that came from Jess’s point of view showed how cruel life was for her. I was horrified at how people bullied her. I fully despised her mother when she told Jess: “It’s not like you are going places anyway.” Brandy’s upbringing completely appeared as the polar opposite. Watching as the two characters developed, especially after their disappearances, it was easy to see a shift in their outlook on life. I appreciated how Banting had the narration of the book shift in alternating points of view that were easy to follow. Burning Rage is a 5-star book that I couldn’t put down. I read it more than once, trying to fathom how different the world would be if we all tried showing compassion for others. Brandy even considered how she could have been a better person by intervening when she saw mistreatment in school. Despite being fiction, I think this would be a valuable tool to highlight the effects of our actions on others.

Viga Boland

Jess might have grown up “normal” if her mother had been honest with her about why the daddy she loved just upped and left and, despite promising he’d visit, never did. It didn’t help that Jess, Nathan, and Mom ended up living in a trailer; that Jess looked poor and unkempt, never wore makeup, and believed herself too ugly to love. Over time, her self-loathing leads to violence: setting fires, causing others pain, and ultimately kidnapping someone she hopes will love her. How desperate for attention and love can a person be? Burning Rage by Don Banting wasn’t quite what I expected: it was so much more!

Burning Rage offers readers a frightening plot that surprises and shocks readers right through to the end of the story: I truly never saw the biggest twist until it was revealed. That’s great writing! On top of that, there isn’t an over-abundance of characters, but those that the plot hinges on are realistic and touch us more deeply than those you meet in most thrillers. It’s a thriller for sure, but one that, at times, bordered on horror. It was also a rather heartbreaking look at a dysfunctional family, siblings who just can’t win for losing, and the indelible and devastating effects of bullying, so much so that it should almost come with a trigger warning: not the usual kind, but one that will trigger readers to be honest with themselves about how they treat others. In other words, when it comes to our own needs and wants, do we always follow the golden rule? Don Banting has the answers for sure.

Vincent Dublado

Years of abuse and bullying didn’t make thirty-eight-year-old Jess warm to a society that conditioned her to become withdrawn and vengeful. Her experiences growing up are already clear danger signals of what is about to unfold. Burning Rage by Don Banting takes a look at the potential hell that one woman can unleash to get back at life’s unfairness. She becomes unhinged as she begins her vengeance by arson, burning business establishments that put the city on high alert and increase police visibility. On top of that, she entraps a man named Lyle Walker and frames him for her arson. Then to fill the void inside her, she kidnaps a college student, Brandy Volker. Jess will leave a trail of mayhem and tragedy, and it will be too late before she realizes that someone still truly cares for her.

Jess in her own way is an example of the syndrome that afflicts many of us. She feels useless and unloved, and it would have been a different conflict if she had been given the love and happiness that she deserves. Yes, this is a revenge novel, but Don Banting doesn’t seem to have constructed this tale to inspire cheers the way we feel in watching the Rambo franchise. It seems to have been written for more thoughtful readers who are likely to pick up on Jess’ weltschmerz that has transmuted into madness. There is a core sadness in her soul that Banting skillfully explores. And by the time that she goes on a rampage, you do not condone her actions, but instead, you give her a level of understanding that you similarly give to a friend who has gone astray. The way Burning Rage ends may not be to your liking, but it is appropriate because it’s realistic. If you are ever in the mood to pick up a dramatic thriller, this should be it.