This book is gruesome and emotional right out of the gate. The main character, Tony, goes through some monumental losses throughout the story. These aren’t the kind of losses that you can just blow off as insignificant because Lane’s writing makes you really care about these people and what’s going on. Lane excels in this area of sympathetic characters.
The sympathy you have for the characters makes this a tough read at times. I blazed through the first half in one or two days, which for me is saying a lot, especially with other books already in my queue. But, I got to a point where the gruesome scenes with the serial killer made me put it down. I give Lane credit for painting a very real picture of what it would be like to be Tony, to be the serial killer, and to be all the other people that suffer and were involved with this monster—even to the point that you sympathize with the monster himself.
Even though I didn’t really “enjoy” reading the scenes with the serial killer, I was intrigued to get into the killer’s mind, and they were very well written. This is the kind of book you can see playing out in your head as if you were there. Lane uses the first person to masterfully get you into the character’s minds so that you can feel everything as if it were happening to you. I could see how and why this guy did these awful things, and it made the story more horrific because of how real it seemed.
In the end, I was pushed to find out what happens to the main character’s girlfriend. As usual, Lane wrote a compelling love story for Tony and Dianna that really pulls you in at the beginning of the story. This is the hook that will keep you reading in spite of the gruesome actions by the serial killer because you want to know what happens between Tony and Dianna. Even though much of the book is written from 17 years after Tony first met the serial killer, you still don’t quite know what happens until the end; and even then, he leaves you wondering and needing to know what will happen in the sequel.
Between 50% and like 70% I was thinking this would be a 4 star review because I figured I had Lane pegged on what would happen to Diane. I was partly right, and partly wrong. The conclusion left me realistically satisfied and very impressed with Lane’s story telling. Life isn’t a fairy tale, and I commend Lane for his conclusion. That, combined with Lane’s excellent writing, makes this a 5 star book. I walk away with a deep emotional connection to these characters and their plight. They are like old friends, and any time a book can create that bond with characters, I say well done. He also did an excellent job with the moral question of what you would do if you were in Tony’s place and life has been so traumatically difficult. How many loved ones could you see die before you justified vengeance?
The only problems I had a few problems with this book: a little bit of a lull after the middle, which is hard to avoid when you are setting up the ending, and in order to be real; and some of the sex and violence was more than I wanted to experience, but in the end, that’s the ugly truth that Lane had to portray to tell this story right. As he warns in the intro, this book is not for kids.
If you are willing to experience some of the darker sides to life, you’ll walk away with new “friends,” and a deeper understanding of life and appreciation for the loved ones you still have.
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I just bought Evolved Publishing’s anthology Evolution: Vol. 1, which is really good so far, and by doing so, I have entered their Facebook giveaway to win a free ebook of Forgive Me, Alex (epub or mobi/kindle). Since I already own it, I’m giving it away to you. Follow the prompts below to enter to win (You can get one free if buy your own copy of Evolution: Vol. 1). The other authors are members of the Evolved Pub team, so I thought it would be nice to spread the love. Then I got so excited about you liking all these people that I added another prize to the package, an ebook of Lane’s short story, Wind Tunnel.
*Note: Lane liked the idea of promoting reviews so much, that if the winner posts a review of Forgive Me, Alex and sends me the link (tim at timothycward dot com), he or she will receive a coupon for another free ebook from the Evolved Publishing Product Page.