Saturday, June 18, 2011

'Cleansing Eden': A Great Novel of Suspense and Metaphors


 Review: CLEANSING EDEN (Trestle Press 2011)
Author: Benjamin Sobieck


Okay, the first mystery for me about this book was its title. CLEANSING EDEN. What did it mean? What kind of crime story has a title like that?

The story begins with two anonymous people -- a younger man and an older man -- burying a body. Turns out to be a dead celebrity. Right up front, you learn that the older man has an agenda. He wants to kill all the celebrities that are warping young people and, in his opinion, stealing their identities. He calls them pedophiles. I don't think that word means what he thinks it means to paraphrase a character from another story, but I digress.

Here's the thing. The older man enlists the younger man's complicity and assistance in his plan to kill celebrities and, in return, keeps him high and easily manipulated on a drug product he created called Bluegrasse (with an "e" at the end to give it more class).

So ... they do their thing. Kill one celebrity. Two celebrities. Then, the media gets interested. That's when we meet ...

June Routledge. The intrepid reporter for Ce!eb News. Possibly the most annoyingly named celebrity news program in the history of fiction.

And, though June aspires to do real journalism, she has to pay the bills, so she's working at Ce!eb for her most irritating boss, Jim. So when the news breaks about the celebrity killings, June jumps on the chance to get the scoop and be the proverbial Lois Lane of celebrity journalists, as it were.

Now ... things get a bit interesting when an attempt is made on the life of Celebrity #3. Because, let's just say it gets into matters of fault and things like contributory negligence, assumption of risk and how to fix the blame when someone who sets events into motion has no intent to harm. That's it. :)

Naturally, the suspense ratchets up when the cops get involved and Captain Benjamin Escalate is not only questioning the younger man, but eyeing June with suspicion. Imagine!

Meanwhile, the younger man senses things aren't quite right. Both with the Bluegrasse and his situation.

And June also finds her life becoming something she hadn't wanted it to be.

Okay, so basically, the story is about two people -- the younger man and June Routledge -- who are trying -- dare I say it? -- to find their identities.

CLEANSING EDEN is also a highly suspenseful read. Benjamin Sobieck has an inventive way with words. He writes with a voice that's strong and uniquely his.

So ... questions arise. Will June extricate herself from her situation? Will the younger man escape free and clear? Will the real guilty parties be held accountable? And who is to blame, anyhow? The killers? The media? Who?

So many questions. So many metaphors. And, if you read the book, you'll find out that CLEANSING EDEN refers to more than one thing. :)

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