Author: Temujin Hu
Publisher: Badlander Publishing
Utilizing a background of obsession and revenge to great effect, Temujin Hu has crafted a strange, frequently disturbing, yet nonetheless, action-packed debut novel with his The Rage.
The story focuses on two individuals from different social backgrounds whose paths merge as a result of an horrendous crime perpetrated by one causing the death of the wife and daughter of the other.
As the novel opens, we are introduced to seventeen-year old Roland living with his drug dependent mother who is forced to prostitute herself to feed her addiction. In addition to having to watch his mother’s self-destruction and humiliation, Roland is also the victim of emotional and physical maltreatment at the hands of someone who claims to be his father.
One day Roland discovers his mother’s body in a pool of blood and at the same time to his horror learns that the man claiming to be his father is not his natural father. He is informed by this impostor that his mother didn’t even know who was his dad. As a result of this double blow, as well as his years of physical, social and emotional abuse, Roland snaps and is pushed over the edge. He now sets out to become someone who is feared and respected which unfortunately will lead him to descend into a bottomless pit of horrendous crimes, drugs, criminal gangs, and steroids.
The story subsequently shifts to our second principal character Nicolas, a successful advertising executive, who after a rewarding business trip, decides to spend some time with his wife Sandra and his daughter Mary. One evening on the way to dinner with his family, Nicolas takes a detour to pass by his newly purchased home that his family will be moving into the following day. After showing the new house to Mary, Nicolas pulls into a gas station and it is here where he unfortunately crosses paths with a deranged Roland who brutally murders his wife and daughter. Nicolas, who manages to survive the attack, vows to avenge the murder of his loved ones and in the process likewise adopts a life of bestial behavior and brutal crimes.
Interwoven into the plot are several minor characters who surprisingly play important roles in the development of the story and its outcome.
Hu has created an audacious novel unafraid of excess, where horrific moments arrive every few pages as he blends realism with the harsh reality of the lives of fearsome criminals. He also attempts to tackle some heavy themes as our choices and their consequences, redemption, love, forgiveness, and victimization, all of which were constrained in their development. Had Hu developed these themes as fully as he does the attentive visual detail he devotes to scenes of violence, the yarn would have proved to be more insightful and affecting. The novel is also in need of a good editor who would have caught many grammatical errors, particularly awkward sentence structuring that occur far too often. Despite these shortcomings, and although this genre is not exactly my cup-of-tea, the story’s eleven chapters had plenty of suspense with characters and environments nicely imagined that kept me going until its unusual conclusion. I look forward to reading more from this promising author.
Temujin Hu is a graduate from the University of Southern California with a B.A. In East Asian Languages and Cultures. He served over four years in the US Navy in the 90’s and recently spent more than six years doing professional security in Los Angeles, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Follow Here To Read Norm’s Interview With Temujin Hu