Entropy is a uniquely bleak and compelling murder mystery with deep psychological character themes. Robert Raker does a wonderful job creating a dark imposing atmosphere that descends on the reader as they journey into the story. The ability to create a desolate and forsaken atmosphere that pervades everything is what makes this novel stand out.
The story is based in a community beset with economic ruin and blighted with abandoned and deteriorating infrastructure. What more could harm this depressed community? Well, the brutal murder and mutilation of 8 children, each dumped in a water-related environment – a lake, a flooded quarry an abandoned water tower. Water and decay are dominant characteristics in this story
The rain started to fall more heavily. It felt like it would never end and that the river would burst, the streets would flood, and all the people would suffocate and drown, immersed in a landscape of death and barrenness. The clouds above the horizon blackened. I would bring the darkness with me to him and everywhere I moved. I would be a harbinger of sickness and rot. The incarnation of entropy.
The narration is told through four characters who each have a connection to the series of murders. The four protagonists include a scuba diver who recovers each body, which leaves a major impact on his state of mind. An amputee cellist musician believes he knows the killer but as his life has been falling apart since losing his arm he makes a drastic decision. An undercover agent facing the horrific and disgusting underworld of paedophilia destroys his marriage in pursuit of the job. Finally, a mother of one of the murdered children struggles to deal with the loss and lives a life torn apart by sickness, evil and hate. Each of these characters has become introverted with their misery, rejecting all interaction from loved ones as they face psychological turmoil. They are all irrevocably and introspectively damaged.
Robert is a gifted writer who has written some beautiful prose that feels poetic at times and he creates wonderful images and description of psychological turmoil that can only but be applauded. The difficulty I had in reading the book was that the core storyline was side-tracked for long periods dealing with the psychological issues and backgrounds of the protagonists. It left me a little confused about what the primary focus of the story was; a deep character analysis exploring psychological trauma or the murder mystery itself. I had wanted it to be the murder mystery but found it was displaced for long periods and the flow of the story felt jarred.
I would recommend reading this book and the experience of finding some literary gems, that I’ll be filing away. I would like to thank Robert Raker for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.