Fury by Joan De La Haye
A young girl is brutally murdered. Two rival crime bosses fight for dominance on the streets of South Africa’s capital city. The city’s underground film industry is set ablaze. An angry spirit bent on revenge is on a murder spree. And Alice, a university student, is caught in the middle of a bloody battle for survival. Their fates all intertwine in this tale of vengeance and fury.
All things considered, I think that sometimes people should be haunted by spirits hell-bent on dark malevolent vengeance. Certainly, if you’re murdering women for some sicko’s idea of entertainment, then you deserve absolutely everything that you’re going to get.
You’ll probably not be surprised to discover that my sympathies lie squarely with Angela. She is the victim of the piece, and in making a single stupid mistake, trusting the wrong person, she pays the ultimate price. This error costs her everything and leaves her in a horrific limbo. No one should ever have to suffer the brutal horrors she is forced to endure, and it seems only fair she gets payback against her assailants. After her senseless murder, I think the bloodthirsty part of me was actively willing her to destroy all her tormentors in as violent and painful manner as is possible. Her untimely, bloody death has infused Angela’s spirit with an epic supernatural rage that she directs against those she feels are responsible for her pain.
The story also follows another potential victim of the snuff movie makers, a young woman called Alice. Like Angela, she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The only difference between the two is that Alice isn’t dead yet. Unfortunately, the madness that fuels what is left of Angela considers that reason enough for her to also be considered a target. The big question is, can Alice fend off various sleazy low-lives, a suave yet psychopathic mob boss and the spirit of Angela in order to survive?
A word of warning, for the squeamish amongst you, Fury is not for the faint of heart. The subject matter in this novel is extremely adult. We are talking about torture, snuff movies and violent death here, people. It is highly likely that elements of the narrative are going act as a trigger for some. This novel doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to depicting sex, drug use and violence, and in some instances, a combination of the three. Ironically, it isn’t the supernatural elements that are the most horrific parts of this tale. It is the depiction of the crime at the book’s beginning. I suspect it is all the more traumatic because it is too easy to imagine something like this could actually happen. Is it wrong for me to wish that at times like this, an author’s descriptive powers were perhaps not as vividly accurate as they are?
From my perspective, I’ll admit I found certain things suitably harrowing, but I’ll counter that by also confessing I found myself gripped by the narrative. I actively wanted to learn the outcome. I needed to know that Angela would find some sort of peace and that some form of justice would be served. There is something really quite satisfying in getting to learn how she cuts a bloody swathe through the criminal underbelly of Pretoria. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of scumbags.
A few years ago I read Oasis, by the same author, and I enjoyed her take on the zombie genre. I’ve been looking forward to reading more of her writing and I’m pleased to report that Fury is just as good as her previous work. There is a lot to be said for a simple tale well told. Smart, perfectly paced and well executed there is nothing I like better than an old school supernatural revenge thriller, you just can’t beat a REALLY angry ghost.
Fury is published by the author and is available now.