Sunday, September 18, 2011

Citizen Out - A Novel by Marie Crist

The Citizen Chronicles: Citizen Out: A Novel. Marie Crist. Reaction Press. July 2011. 276 pp. paperback. ISBN #: 9780983580904.

Citizen Out opens with a ghastly scene, a predator spying a group of little girls, picturing what he could possibly do with one of them, and then choosing who will be his willing, in his sick mind, partner. The plan is to enjoy her even up to the moments of her death. It's a breath-stopping scene and makes the reader disgusted and then horrified - that is until the mind-jolting second when the perpetrator is hit in the neck with a death-dealing knife. A sigh of relief pervades the reader's being, for this death is preferable to the suffering an otherwise innocent young girl would have endured prior to her death and her family's devastating reaction.

Sound implausible? Not. For in spite of Amber alerts and vigilant neighbor watches, etc., little girls and boys are being abducted, abused, tortured and sometimes murdered, leaving behind scars and grieving beyond description. This is a fictional story that could become reality, a group of citizens who are highly trained, globally connected, and motivated to stop each "mark" as the perps are called before each devastating crime begins, not after.

Kevin and Celeste are one team of this team of citizens with a lovely family and a good marriage. In fact, it's the one point in this book that was rather annoying, not that they were happy but the way the author expresses dialogue is very stilted and almost artificial, plainly unnatural. The point is obviously this juxtaposition of happy family versus the sickos destroying families but it needs to be more relaxed and normal. Anyway, several plot lines now begin to follow.

The first is Kevin and Celeste managing their schedule as they work for this company behind the citizens, the second the method of seeking and gaining new recruits in the characters of Seth and Veronica, and the third is some rather public figures and hoods involved in the marketing of children.

The message is very clear, the scenes in part are riveting. Finally, there is one unplanned event that changes everything at the end of the novel, which leaves the reader assured of another tale in these chronicles. In spite of many construction flaws, this is a novel that leaves readers with a multitude of disturbing but vital thoughts, feelings, and questions, with possible acceptable and perhaps not so welcome answers flitting through the former. Unique and significant issue presented in novel form for sure!

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