Character Development 5
Someone should have really prepared me for this book before I started ... or maybe it was better that I found out for myself. This is one dark puppy! I may be dating myself here but, do you remember the short story 'The Lottery' by Shirley Jackson? Great short story - another dark puppy! I loved 'The Lottery'. I guess it appealed to my dark side. 'The Defector' appealed to that same side.
Janec is likely the most evil character I have ever met in a work of fiction. The games he came up with were bizarre, genius, really, really, really sick and twisted. The book does explain what the Prisoner's Dilemma is in detail. In fact the entire plot is basically an enactment of how the dilemma can be used for evil. I don't think I can do it justice by explaining it here but the first paragraph in the foreword gives an overview:
OK, the definition is dull but the book is definitely not dull. Ever.The Prisoner's Dilemma - n. A philosophical conundrum enacted through a game with two participants which gives an insight into the behavior of the individual in society.
Martin is the protagonist in the story. He is just your average Joe off the street. Until he gets mixed up with Janec and the games begin. Janec loves his games. Martin isn't too fond of them. I was impressed with Martin's resilience and luck. He pulled off some fantastic escapes! He was smarter than either he or Janec expected. I loved that Martin learned so much about himself as the novel progressed.
Kate was the love interest in the book. She provided the love triangle angle and the perfect pawn for Janec. I didn't like her at all. She seemed so shallow to me. Not really worth fighting for. But what I thought of her really doesn't matter. It's what Marin thought of her that made all the difference to the story.
There were definitely times, when reading the book, that I just wanted to stop. Some of Janec's evil games were almost too evil for me. But Mark Chisnell's writing style drew me in and wouldn't let me go. Just the same way Janec wouldn't let Martin go. The fear, felt by those unlucky enough to get on Janec's bad side, was palpable. In fact, I finished the book over an hour ago and my stomach is still in a small knot. Decompression could take a while.
This is definitely a book for the Halloween season. You want scary, this book has it in spades. Nothing paranormal or otherworldly, but weird and scary for sure.
A Taste from page 132:
A Taste from page 132:
Kate looked at me. Neither of us needed to say it. Of course it is, Martin, I could hear the words in Janec's voice. Feel the fear pounding in my gut. I leaned back against the concrete wall. 'We have to disappear, evaporate. No other choices. We have to run and hide somewhere he can't find us.'