Meet Truman Ferris Pinter, a self-confessed rapist and murderer, currently residing on death row, hours away from his execution.
Les Edgerton is the author of fifteen books. He is an ex-con and served two years for a single charge of burglary, reduced from 182, two strong-arm robberies, an armed robbery, and a count of possession with intent to deal. Today, he's completely reformed. Prior to this Les served in the U.S. Navy as a cryptographer during the Cuban Crisis and the beginning of the Vietnam War.
After making parole, Les obtained a B.A. from Indiana University and then received his MFA in Writing (Fiction) from Vermont College. He teaches workshops nationwide on writing. Born in Texas, Les now lives in Indiana with his family.
You can learn more about the author at his blog.
If you’ve read the author bio you’ll probably appreciate that I approached The Rapist with a degree of trepidation – Les Edgerton is one scary dude. In addition the subject matter would probably be difficult. The cover, of a woman’s face, eyes sightless, is haunting.
And I was right, it isn’t an easy read. It’s one of those stories you push away after finishing it, then pull it back again and look at it in a whole new light. Clearly Edgerton likes to jolt his readers. In fact, afterwards I felt a bit grubby having been in the mind of the main character, Truman Ferris Pinter, for so long.
Socially inept (a gross understatement) and incredibly self-important, Truman is a strange guy. At the outset we meet Truman in prison, he’s on death row having been found guilty of the rape and murder of a young woman. Through the initial part of the story Truman admits and even justifies his actions in a quite unique voice. He feels morally justified in his actions because of who she is and who he is. He is a class above.
Here’s an example from the outset:
He will inhale you, devour you, eat the pulp of your soul and spit out the husk. Behind his eyes lies nothing save the fevered light of unholy candles.
And this is Truman describing himself. Whilst awaiting his sentence for death in a matter of hours time (which adds another layer of tension) he recounts the situation which put him there and we learn about Truman’s life and experiences – some of which are strange – before he goes through a personal change. I won’t say more, you’ll need to discover these for yourself.
Should I feel sorry for Truman? Really I shouldn’t, but eventually I became drawn to the oddball. It was a strange experience.
The writing is very sharp, the prose as rich and wealthy as a billionaire. I stayed up late for three nights in a row to finish The Rapist, only going to bed when I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open, it’s that compelling a story.
I haven’t picked up anything quite like The Rapist before. I probably never will again.
A rape scene but not overly graphic.
Added for Reprise Review: The Rapist was a nominee in the Thriller category for B&P 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran November 17, 2013
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Approximate word count: 45 -50,000 words