The entirely random selection below is of the first incident of gratuitous violence in the eight novels cited. All of them are nasty, indeed, sadistic. The question, which will remain unanswered, is whether the novelist writing this sort of thing is doing it because a sadistic public demands it? Remember that a sadistic act is one done for the entertainment of the attacker. The victim is a vehicle for pleasure. In this case the sadistic act is written for the entertainment of the public; it is a vicarious act, a voyeuristic act, if you will. Does it brutalise the reader? Apparently not. There has been a consistent reduction in violent crime in Britain over a very extended period. Could it be that these novels act as a cathartic releasing of violent suppressed passions, part of the containment of evil that is in all of us? And if this is plausible, perhaps the same applies to other unpleasant aspects of the inner evil within people.
Eight entirely random quotations from recent novels
Alex Walters Nowhere to Hide 2012
“He had no time to think… The car reversed a few yards, and now jerked forward again…He lay motionless as the car rode bumpily over his prone body….leaving his mangled, bloody corpse crumpled in the gutter.” p11
M J Arlidge Eeny Meeny 2014
“They always started by securing her wrists. Two studded leather straps pulled taut, so that her arms were tethered to the wall. Iron fetters secured her feet to the floor…(She stood) awaiting punishment.” p4
James Carol Broken Dolls 2014
“He abducted them and took them to the wide rolling forests of Oregon, where he set them free and hunted them down with a high- powered rifle. He couldn’t care less about those fifteen girls. To him they were playthings.” pp 1-2
Michael Robotham Watching You 2013
“One punch, delivered low down in the swell of her stomach, doubles her over…A second punch lands. Her lungs have no more to give. He won’t hit her face. Bruises are a liability when you’re selling a woman’s body.” p27
Terry Hayes I am Pilgrim 2012
“She is naked in the bathroom- her throat cut, floating face down in a bathtub full of sulphuric acid….The young woman is unrecognisable- the three days she has spent in the acid have destroyed all her features….whoever killed her also weighed her hands down with telephone books. The acid has dissolved not only her fingerprints but also the entire metacarpal structure underneath.” pp 11- 12 (first 2 pages of text)
Roger Hobbs Ghost Man 2013
“The bullet hit the driver’s head just below the hairline and behind the ear. It went right through his head and exited through the nose. Brain and brain matter painted the sidewalk….[The second man] Most of the bullets missed, but one didn’t. A bullet caught the handler in the spine, below the heart.” pp17- 18
Ed Chatterton A Dark Place To Die 2012
“Someone’s made a real effort this time, the victim lashed bolt upright to a length of scaffolding pole driven deep into the Liverpool sand and barbecued to a blackened crisp.” p1
Max Kinnings Baptism 2012
“Glen felt a spray of warm liquid and grit on his face. He glanced at Rob but there was something wrong. The upper right-hand quadrant of his head was completely missing, leaving a jagged fringe of shattered bone fragments and ruptured brain in its place from which blood sluiced freely…” p2
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Has there been a reduction in violent crime, I don’t think the female victims of rape would agree.Note the number of crimes that go unreported.Consider the crimes against children which are only now coming to light.Crime statistics cannot be taken as accurate, we can only measure the crimes which have been reported.
Gratuitous sex is much more fun than gratuitous violence!