Monday, July 23, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: The Goodbye Man by Chad Barton

Release Date: July 6th, 2011
Publisher: AuthorHouse (self-published)
Page Count: 208
Source: Complimentary copy from Bohlsen PR in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

"As more people filled the packed church, Jack was forced to move down the wall toward the front, until he was very near the altar. From that vantage point, he could see the young mother's face.

He found himself staring at her, unable to look away. He didn't know why. Perhaps it was the terrible sadness in her face. He watched her intently as she clutched a little brown teddy bear and a picture of her daughter, who now lay only feet away in a small casket. The size of it made him wince. Jack felt the anger rise within him."

At sixty years old, Jack Steele has long since retired from putting criminals—especially those that hurt children—in prison. Following his retirement from law enforcement, he built a successful multimillion-dollar company, allowing him financial freedom in his golden years. Following the unexpected loss of his wife, Sarah, however, he withdraws into himself. He becomes a loner whose only companion is his German shepherd, Sadie.

Sick of a court system that lets monsters out of prison to torture and kill again and again, he decides there is only one way to stop them. Using his own resources, his credentials as a retired police officer, and his .380 Walther, he and his dog begin to hunt—bringing justice to those whom the system cannot control.

What Stephanie Thinks: Child serial killers, their gruesome felonies, their absurd prison releases, and Jack Steele's determination to put and end to them once and for all, constitute the intense and astonishing The Goodbye Man. Details of the grotesque crimes will shock readers, and the repercussions will tear at hearts. This is an action-packed, gripping murder novel that you don't want to miss.

I like Barton's edgy, yet still soulful style of writing. He cuts the crap—nothing ever drags on, allowing the story to move along marvelously—but he also takes the opportunity to offer insights in Jack Steele's experiences, many of them surprisingly tender, sort of as a balm to soothe the blow of the atrocities described. The concept of the Goodbye Man is also original and realistic in an ideal way, in that carnage that Jack harbors certainly could happen, but probably never would.

The definition of and flaw with criminal rights in America is a large theme throughout the book, one that interests me highly. Barton presents it in a way, through Jack's near-justifiable mass slaughters, that makes the nation's legal system seem incredibly corrupt, but not completely hopeless.

More than a narrative on the highly-profiled crimes and the unfair law system of the US, this novel sheds light upon a bigger, brighter message in the matter of what it means to be human. Barton does this by displaying Jack's personal relationships, those that involve his loyal and lovable dog, Sadie (funny, but she is absolutely my favorite character!!! Even if you don't like dogs, you will love Sadie), as well as his love interest, Jen. I'll also go off on a tangent and say I usually don't like romances within crime/thriller novels because they're so cliché (big tough law enforcer man makes love to gorgeous smart sexy woman—I mean, come on), but this one serves a better purpose than heat-of-the-moment sexualization, so it was something I actually appreciated.

The Goodbye Man is a book about honor—not about morals, not ethics—but about what should be done and what stands should be taken when the rest of the world sins by remaining helpless and silent, even at the risk of creating another one of those monsters entirely. Jack's final realization that killing killers isn't ethical is a weighty, character-shaping discovery, one I'm glad readers will be able to discover on their own. However, we still consider Jack's deeds as the dutiful actions to take for our society. We recognize that people like the Goodbye Man are who put such virtue place. For a riveting and agonizingly compassionate crime thriller not only about a blind country's legal justice system, but also about the one man who aims to vindicate its exploitations, give this one a try. Warning: not for the faint of heart or weak of mind—brutal kidnapping, rape, and murder scenes exhibited.

Stephanie Loves: "He remembered [the night] like it was yesterday. Horrendous things are like that, he had since learned. They simply don't leave you. You think they do, and for a time, they actually might. But then something triggers them and they're back, just as horrible as they day you experienced them.
Sometimes worse."

Radical Rating: 8 hearts - An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥