Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sinister Purposes

Sinister Purposes is the first novel I’ve read by Gary Raisor. It is not a conventional novel, but rather what is called a mosaic novel, meaning it is composed of a number of short stories altered to fit into one narrative. Some authors have done this well (Ray Bradbury), but the principle weakness of the format is an unevenness of quality among chapters that were written over the course of a long period of time and have to be twisted to fit into this hybrid format.

Raisor has talent as a writer, but I wasn’t that impressed with the book itself. As with most horror novels, terrible fates befall most of the characters, but the characters created here are so repugnant, you are happy when they meet their ends. There isn’t a single sympathetic character. The novel is also somewhat over the top in mean-spiritedness. If a puppy or kitten is introduced, there s no chance it will go three pages without being tortured to death. (I’m not sure how Raisor feels about pets. Sinister Purposes is a virtual Armageddon for animals, with thirty or so being killed in gruesome ways). Even the characters who are supposed to be somewhat appealing regularly drown puppies or kittens, usually after removing their eyes. Readers of horror expect a certain amount of gore and shocks, but this was so over-the-top and repetitive it repelled me. (A caveat here: I’m one of those weirdos who can read or watch any manner of gore or atrocity against people, but can’t stand cruelty to animals. It’s just the way I am)

I look forward to giving Raisor another chance, but Sinister Purposes gets a thumbs down from me.

It has been brought to my attention that my comments on the book imply that Mr. Raisor is himself a hater of animals. This was not my attention, and I recognize that Sinister Purposes is fiction, not fact. I should have worded this less flippantly, and I'm sory if there was any confusion on that.


Anonymous said...

Hi, this is Gary Raisor, author of Sinister Purposes, and I thought I would reply to Mt. Allard's comment about how said author relates to animals. Mr. Raisor has been the proud owner of many pets, all of whom have lived to ripe old ages. At this moment, Mr. Raisor has three cats, one of whom has just passed the age of fourteen, and three Guinea Pigs who are spoiled beyond belief.
Thanks for your concern, Mr. Allard, but Sinister Purposes does not reflect Mr. Raisor's true feeling about animals, it is just fiction.

KentAllard said...

Re-reading my post, I probably should have been clearer that I don't actually believe Mr. Raisor hates pets, just that there is a lot of pet mayhem in the book.