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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Noir Book Review : Dark Heart : Images Of A City by Travis Berketa

Title : Dark Heart : Images Of A City

Author : Travis Berketa
Publisher : Brolga Publishing
ISBN : 978192122113
Date Published : 2007
No of Pages : 111
Sub-Genre : Noir

"Please excuse the fact that I have not introduced myself. I cannot, because of the work I will be undertaking now that I have completed my study. I do not want to put you or your family in danger."

A nameless figure in the modern city has decided that he can no longer sit idly by while crime is allowed to go unpunished. The bashings, rapes, road rage, theft, drug dealing and organized crime has been allowed to flourish while people hide in their homes and refuse to do anything about it.

This is the view of Travis Berketa's central character in Dark Heart: Images of a City. It's the dark tale of a man who has been pushed too far by fate and the rage inside him has been stoked to the point where it is about to come spewing out. He has transformed himself from your average citizen into a predator, a vigilante who has decided that he is going to fight back against the images that appear in the newspapers every day.

The book reads as a kind of diary kept by the vigilante who claims that he wants to keep a record so that people may understand why he has taken the action that he has chosen. He emphasises that he is not crazy, although it is pretty clear that he is psychologically traumatised.

The man turns into a one-man crime wave as he sets about "making the city safe for us". His victims are molesters, drug dealers, crime king-pins and hitmen...and he doesn't go easy on them. His expectations are that he will be hailed a hero for his brave efforts against low-life scum, but his expectations are unrealistic - after all, as far as the police are concerned he's just another violent offender.

I can't believe the police would do something like this; they're probably upset because I'm getting things done, while they're sitting in their offices eating their jam-filled doughnuts. They would rather take in an innocent person who is trying to make their job easier than go after the real criminals. That's their mistake!

This rant comes after he bashes a drug dealer into unconsciousness and has been caught by the police at the scene. It's a refrain that he will repeat often as he piously continues to preach to us that what he is doing is for our own good. As the images of more and more crime in the newspapers are relayed to us the vigilante becomes increasingly agitated and, as he gradually becomes one of those very images that set him off, his agitation grows into something much more.

You can feel his control slipping away and understand that things are not going to end well.
The reader has a choice while reading Dark Heart. You can side with the vigilante and applaud the action he takes in fighting back against the criminals loose on our streets. For some, I'm sure, have had similar brief fantasies of getting their own taste of revenge. Or you can condemn him for taking matters into his own hands, adding to the growing crime wave running across the city.
This review and many others can be read at the Australian Crime Fiction Database.

2 comments:

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CrimeReader86 said...

What else has this Berketa guy written? Cos this book was unreal! If you ever get the chance to read it, make sure you do!