You know how people can watch violence against humans all day long but if someone kicks a puppy it’s a capital offense? I’m sort of guilty of this myself. I love action movies and Law & Order SVU, but if someone shoots a guard dog or a horse gets hit with a arrow meant for its rider, a teensy tiny part of my soul cringes. This happens in books, too. You know what else I see a lot of? People being more sensitive to violence against women, moreso than violence against men. Personally, I cringe for both sexes if the assault is particularly cruel and unusual.
Case in point? Russell Blake’s Fatal Exchange. It’s his first novel, and it’s about a female bike messenger who becomes entangled in an elaborate conterfeiting scheme meant to deplete the value of the US dollar while a select few make millions. If that wasn’t enough to deal with, there’s also a serial killer running around targeting female bike messengers in NYC. What a bummer for her, right? Anyway, I enjoyed the book. It was kind of like reading a Quentin Tarantino movie. Eventually I’ll add my thoughts to the Books I’ve Read In Bed page.
So, before I downloaded the book, I read some of the reviews. One review stuck out. It was a 2-star review that started off with this sentence:
“The amount of space and words dedicated to extreme violence against women was somewhat surprising to me.”
Now, I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone, but the serial killer does cut off the breasts and scalps of his victims, as well as cut out their eyes. That’s rough, fair enough. But it’s not described in detail. It’s mentioned when the victims’ bodies are found, that’s all. Here’s what I thought was amusing: there are no less than half a dozen MEN that get gruesomely tortured in this book. I’m talking ice picks through their eyes, certain reproductive organs removed inhumanely, faces melted off with boiling oil, etc. I mean, WAY more “space and words” were “dedicated” to these acts of violence against men. And this woman mentions it absolutely nowhere in her review.
A curious double standard, don’t you think?