OTISS is an abused child, physically & mentally tortured for years in the home by his sadistic parents. His Father STAN plots an elaborate alibi enabling him to set up the boy for the murder of his own Mother.
A trial of sorts, hanging on the basis of a defense of automatism( murder when sleepwalking) sees a detainment to the FABERON institution for the criminal insane.
In this cloudy pond, where the staff are every bit as dangerous & disturbed as the patients.
Young OTISS is placed on a wing funded as a trial by the Government which uses olden day methods from centuries past to cure madness.
Eventually released a decade later as an even more tortured soul, he sets up THE VILLAGE EYE pub as a front to his real nocturnal activities of being a VIGILANTE.
Warning beatings on the scum of the village soon becomes tiresome as he reaches new limits of retribution.
Still traumatized from youth, will he find the courage to finally confront STAN?
You can't truly escape your blood lines DNA as fatal mistakes see a familiar face from the INSTITUTION reveal that our main protagonist has not been the only one keeping the VIGIL & upping the ANTE.
The Ink Run is the debut novel from author Dale Brendan Hyde. It's a book which catalogues the life of Otiss from childhood and the sadistic abuse of his father with the indifference to his suffering by his mum, who is also a victim. Onward through the false imprisonment and his detention in an asylum, after being framed for his mother's murder. To his life after freedom and a continuation of the violence which has accompanied him throughout his life, albeit with Otiss now as the harbinger.
Intense, dark, disturbing, cruel, uncomfortable and challenging. I don't think I could say I enjoyed it, who could with such a life described? It was a book I needed to read in short bursts over a prolonged period of time.
Difficult themes are explored ...... child abuse, institutional abuse and a corrupt justice system. These are contrasted with displays of resilience, spirit and defiance and the comfort gleaned from friendship and strength garnered from shared experiences.
Pre-imprisonment, there are temporary moments of light and respite in a solitary friendship with Johnny and the brief connection Otiss forms with his grandfather, but they are few and far between. Normality for Otiss is abuse.
We also get a feel for incarceration and the sadistic nature of the institution Otiss finds himself in. Staff abuse is commonplace with the hierarchy a cruel regime. One early hope for compassion and humane treatment in the guise of Doctor Woo is quickly extinguished with Woo's departure and Otiss' suffering continues, indeed greatens.
Post freedom, I struggled to empathise with Otiss and his actions. Our victim turned vigilante and whilst the targets of his ire were bullies and deserving of punishment, in some ways it was sad that Otiss was the one to dispense it. A balancing of the scales for previous sins suffered in some ways diminished him in my eyes. The D-Day showdown with Stan - father and chief architect of Otiss' misery was gratuitously prolonged and cruel. Violence begets violence, which may be the author's point. I wish he had walked away and broken the cycle. Easier said than done, I guess.
On the downside - it could have been much shorter and we could have gotten where we were going in a few less pages. The numerous incidents related from the first stage of life, pre-murder after a while seemed a bit repetitious and numbing. I got the message early and was a little bit irked by the narration of another episode of cruelty, followed by another incident of abuse and and ....
On the upside - it's a thought provoking novel which doesn't shy away from presenting abuse and putting it to the forefront of your mind. Better to be confronted by such things, than exist in a bubble where you can pretend they don't happen.
A difficult read - very challenging but worth the effort.
3 from 5
Read in May/June 2018
Published - 2017
Page count - 416
Source - review copy from author
Format - paperback