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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Does a person ever get over being raped? Rape victims do “get over it” to a degree; some, like Cindy Foster in Demented by Joe Clark, even manage to rebuild their lives. But they never forget the event, and if they see their rapist, even many years later, just one look can cause panic. When Cindy recognizes the handsome Adan Jackson as one of 3 men who gang-raped her 15 years prior, and when Adan somehow always seems to be where she is...they work for the same company...she becomes increasingly nervous. But neither the wealthy, charismatic Adan nor his brother was convicted for the rape. Only Troy Mondale was. So when Cindy’s car is vandalized, and a PI Cindy has hired is nearly run off the road, Cindy is convinced that Troy Mondale, now out of prison, is to blame. It was Cindy’s testimony that put Troy in jail; now it must be Troy seeking revenge. But are Cindy, the PI, Nickey, and Police Seargent Jack Edwards looking in the right direction?
The plot of Demented is populated by many characters. At times, it’s hard to keep up with them all. But under Joe Clark’s pen, each one has a purpose as the story races to its conclusion. People are murdered; Adan Jackson, the consummate narcissist and lecher, believes himself irresistible and invincible and Troy Mondale is hounded by those who think he’s responsible for the ongoing wave of crime surrounding Cindy. More reserved readers might find the few graphic sex scenes starring Adan a bit over the top, but they are realistic and enhance our understanding of Adan’s character. But while the plot and characterization of Demented are impressive, even more memorable is the fascinating look at prison life that Troy supplies. Readers will learn a lot about what a prisoner feels and experiences when incarcerated. It’s not a pretty picture and explains to some degree why suicide rates in prison are as high as they are.
I’ve always believed that a good novel does two things: it entertains and informs. Using that criteria, Joe Clark has written an excellent novel deserving your time. What really caught my attention was the information the author supplied at the end of the book about how he conceived the plot of Demented and why he brought this interesting cast of characters together. Make sure you read that section as well as the novel. It’s intriguing ... especially if you’re a fan, as I am, of the TV show Law and Order. Demented: a good read in many ways.