“Come join the murder. Come join the black”

The White Buffalo & The Forest Rangers – Come Join the Murder

The first time I heard the title of this book, Come Join the Murder, it made me think of the song from the show Son’s of Anarchy. I mentioned this in one of my videos and Holly responded saying that both the title of the book and the character’s last name, Crowe, was inspired by SoA which I thought was pretty cool.

Okay, with that little tidbit aside let’s get into the review. Come Join the Murder is the debut novel by Holly Rae Garcia. It being a debut I didn’t really know what to expect going in. I knew that I was intrigued by the title and I really like the cover art, it’s simple yet eye catching. I don’t think I was prepared for how dark this story turned out to be.

Whenever a book’s plot revolves around the loss of a child you know you are most likely in for a heavy read and this book was no different in that regard. Rebecca Crowe’s four year old son Ollie is found dead when her husband’s car is pulled from the canal. If that isn’t horrible enough her husband is missing and it’s unknown whether he is alive or dead. Not only does Rebecca have to deal with the absolutely devastating loss of her son but she has no one to lean on, no one to grieve with, no emotional support system. The unknown lingering around her husband’s fate continues to gnaw at her already fractured psyche.

Rebecca’s guilt starts to pour in like a rising tide eroding away at her emotional sanity. She begins to question herself and her life. Was she a good enough wife and mother? Did she pay enough attention to Ollie or was she more focused on her work and having some peace and quiet to herself? All those moments of “Hold on”, “Not right now”, “Maybe later” with her son come rushing in to haunt her. Moments that she will never get back. Moments that she will never be able to have a do-over on. Life is short. Life is fleeting and this fact crashes down upon Rebecca like a hammer blow.

This one really hit home for me as I have a son who is also four years old. I’ll admit some of the parts here dealing with Ollie’s funeral and the memories of him that would bubble up to the surface in Rebecca’s mind got me a bit emotional. For me anytime a writer can elicit an emotional response like this through the power of their words they are doing something right in my book.

The format of the story cuts back and forth from Rebecca’s viewpoint to that of a man named James. James is a low life with a blackness festering inside of him. Life seems to have had the heel of its boot bearing down on James’ neck his entire life. A victim of abuse and harboring traumas of his own has led him down a misguided path. A man who has turned to robbery to make ends meet and help support his mother crosses paths with Ollie and his dad one fateful day, forever altering the course of all lives involved. This isn’t a spoiler as you learn this from nearly the beginning, James is a killer and in one way or another he is responsible for ripping Rebecca’s child away from her.

Though Rebecca and James are on opposite sides of the societal spectrum they may have more in common with each other than meets the eye. Come Join the Murder delves into the transformation of becoming a murderer. Is a person born with that dark stain already within themselves waiting to manifest or is it something that is bred of circumstance, trauma, revenge? Does everyone have the capacity to enact such violence and take the life of another? If not, what is it that separates the killers from the rest of us?

Not pleased with the progress the police are making on the case, Rebecca decides that she is going to take justice into her own hands and use what little information she has to hunt down the person responsible for shattering her life. Hellbent on revenge, her judgment becomes clouded as she stares out into the abyss, but what is staring back? Will Rebecca take the high road to forgiveness or will she become a monster like the one that she has set out to hunt down?

This book does have a repetitiveness to it where Rebecca imagines Ollie’s and her husband’s final moments over and over again. It starts the same every time but her mind always conjures up a different perpetrator and a different scenario of the horrible events that transpired. I’ve seen some other reviews where this was off-putting to the reader but for me it worked well in helping to establish Rebecca’s decaying state of mind. She’s losing it. Each waking nightmare is worse and more violent than the last.

Heavy with guilt, grief, and regret. Come Join the Murder by Holly Rae Garcia is a darkly brutal story of vengeance and how the capacity to kill lurks within us all. The only question is what would it take to come join the murder?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

AUTHOR

Holly Rae Garcia loves the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Daniel Keyes, Richard Matheson, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stephen King. Dark stories with sad endings are her jam. In her own writing, she leans toward the horror, sci-fi, and dystopian genres. Holly also serves as Editor-at-Large and Art Director for Versification Magazine, a publisher of micro punk poetry. You can follow Hollyon Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Amazon.

REVIEWER

Book reviewer & Booktuber who focuses mostly on small press & indie horror, sci-fi, fantasy, & southern literature. you can follow Brad on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.

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