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Reviewed by Bob MacKenzie for Readers' Favorite
"Defective" is the sort of story that sneaks up on you like those elusive shadows that give you shivers in the night. There's something about 17 year old Kara Butler. Though it would be easy to feel sorry for her, it's as easy to cheer her on. With an abusive father and a mother who mostly ignores her but will help in a crunch, Kara leaves home for the big city of Capetown. Innocent in the ways of the world, Kara nonetheless gets an apartment and finds a job. It all seems quite heroic. There is something else about Kara, something not quite right, something that her new-found freedom has set loose in her world. As her story seamlessly moves into darker and darker places, Kara's world slowly unravels. Drawn into Kara's journey of discovery are a promiscuous medical doctor, the doctor's emotionally abused wife, a boy who believes he is a secret agent, an Abbott and Costello team of detectives, and a cast of other quirky characters. The effect of this story is both surreal and chilling.
"Defective" is not a thriller in the truest sense. Neither is it a mystery or a police procedural. The genre is hard to pin down, shifting as it does while the story progresses. In some ways, the television series 'Dexter' comes to mind, in other ways Hitchcock's Psycho. It is tempting to call "Defective" a psychological-thriller. It is certainly psychological, though perhaps more in the way an update of the old-fashioned Gothic novel might be psychological. Quirky and intriguing, this story is clean and tightly written, drawing the reader inexorably to its inevitable conclusion without ever revealing that climax until it arrives. For readers who prefer their books to be intelligent, thought-provoking, and challenging, "Defective" will be an ideal choice.