I have been a fan of Bianca Pheasant’s five short stories in the “Dark Murmurings” series and looked forward to her longer writing in the 230-page Origin. This novel is described as Book One in a “Mama’s Retribution” series so I expect to read more from her soon. She has a website in which she describes a difficulty she is having with her next book launch. It is worth looking at and following the links she provides to discover a problem that several authors, especially those starting out, might encounter.
This novel is all about characters. Central is Kyndra Abbott, a girl forced into prostitution by circumstances that struck me as unlikely. I won’t reveal the reason but it led to a life of almost eight years as a prostitute. The character of Kyndra as developed later in the novel seems to be too intelligent to have put up with the situation so long. True, there could have been an epiphany that woke up Kyndra to a change in direction of life but it seemed to me that there are two characters in one that don’t quite mesh. There could be many warnings applied to sections where Kyndra appears. Sex, tortured sex, kinky sex, and gory, violent beatings abound. This is not a novel to leave on the coffee table.
If there was an epiphany in Kyndra’s life, the trigger was Gordon. Finding a baby outside but near a dumpster can change a person’s outlook on life. There was a fleeting and strange description of a physical abnormality that would probably haunt Gordon forever but after once mentioned, this never appears again so I am not sure why it was mentioned in the first place. An early, obvious problem is: How does a working prostitute raise a child? The child is a distraction from making money, not to mention the costs of daycare.
Tony the Pimp is a disgusting character because pimps are. Tony is in the novel to administer punishments to all his “employees,” torture Kyndra especially and have sex with everyone and anyone. He arranges parties which could be more correctly termed orgies. Tony is consistently bad until he isn’t
Kyle is a character more horrible than Tony. Possibly bipolar, Kyle constantly battles his beast from within to determine who has the ownership rights to Kyle’s next kill. Kyle must kill periodically so that the “beast” will be calm and Kyle as an entity will not explode. One night Kyle spotted Kyndra but before he could “select” her, Kyndra disappeared. But she was Kyle’s perfect girl, his fixation, and he was going to find and kill her if the beast did not get her first.
Ludwig Falke is a widower and perhaps a retired rich businessman. Readers don’t get to know much about Ludwig’s background. We don’t know where he got his money to build such a fantastic mansion. We do know that he has some mysterious, probably criminal, connections that allow him to easily get rid of bodies. There are lots of bodies. It is difficult to read of Ludwig and not recall a movie, Pretty Woman. Just because I mentioned the movie, a reader might think that explains Ludwig completely but no, there are surprises.
Clive and Perry are two unfortunates that attended one of Tony’s parties. They thought they were fortunate to be there. They especially liked Kyndra. Their feelings were not reciprocated. Eventually, they would play a game, not of their choosing, a logic game named “Prisoner’s Dilemma.”
I found the novel interesting despite the sex and violence. Returning to Kyndra, I found her unbelievable as stated above and for one more reason. Throughout the entire novel, she does a mental reminiscence of her old life after every positive thing that happens to her. If she finds a new boyfriend, she thinks of how he would accept her past. If there is a marriage, how could it be successful given her past? The reader begins to expect that at every positive point Kyndra is going to take a short mental trip to her past dragging the reader with her. This predictability is the one weakness I found in the story. That Pheasant didn’t develop all the characters doesn’t bother me. This is a series in the making.
I am always happy to find new words and expressions. The line that stopped me in this novel was “She hasted herself out of the car and slammed the door shut.” (loc 3052-3053). Hasted? That sent me to the dictionary and expanded my vocabulary. The writing style, interesting plot situations, and fast pacing led me to a four-star Amazon review. The book is available on Kindle Unlimited which is the way I read it.