Book Review: An Arm and a Leg: Olive Balla

An Arm and a Leg, by Olive Balla, undoubtedly  is a novel violent in any culture or subculture with its setting, remains a work by the strong emotional and visual impact with a book that you read, compelling even if it happens that the reader can get lost in the sights, sounds and characters, and in this case the author do not disappoint the majority of its readers with full of fascinating topics, as the reader embarks on the same trip by the protagonist.

The story revolves around Albuquerque divorcee Frankie O’Neil who imagines of having a customary existence, yet, given her predilection for making the most terrible possible decisions in relation to men and the reality she hoards victuals and hears the voices of lifeless kith and kin who suggest at a murky family furtive, her verve is anything but ordinary.

When her brother is shot minutes after leaving a parcel in her freezer, the constabulary suspect her of murder and direct her not to leave the city other than sticking around brings on a fresh set of problems trying not to plummet in love with the assistant who suspects her of being a cannibalistic serial assassin and proving her incorruptibility by finding the true killers before they exterminate her.

The story then rushes toward a final dramatic and shocking, in a whirlwind of psychological horror at times seemingly unjustifiable with the narrative style of the author enriches the content of this book. Rich in content, the insights described are fresh and direct that is not lost in ambitious preamble but it really speaks of a book so raw and uncomfortable, or just the time was not yet ripe.

The book remains pleasant, with a certain thickness and unfolds so at times much targeted. After a promising start, in fact, the book is more than anything a mild psychological thriller, with few strong colours and where the plot goes on trying to trace the psychology of the criminal mind.

The narrative alternates between the voice of multiple characters, in an attempt to keep intact a certain aura of mystery by providing multiple points of view, so that oscillates between a few successful picaresque adventure behind the scenes of the show popular at the time, an analysis on the psyche distorted and its reasons, a splash of freak details, and a finish worthy of the most heroic adventures, in which the villain must blatantly succumb, with the circle of revenge that closes a bit too much artefact.

Playing with the atmosphere of fiction as artistic media, the author abandons almost immediately the disturbing and gore intent, embracing instead the idea of deception and disguise as a companion of the crime and as a metaphor for madness but remains convincing both in one way or another and unmasks then its mechanisms, making fluent but predictable reading.

There is the attempt to build a human drama as beach reading, unpretentious, with this novel that certainly can work, especially for the subtle feeling of completeness, as disillusionment, which arises primarily from the details really strong and disturbing.

The story becomes much more intimate psychological analysis and the story of the becoming of the protagonist are extremely convincing and the book runs to the end like a sigh breathtaking and at some point, in some passages, what looked like a defect, becomes the point of force.

Format: Paperback ♥ Pages: 308 ♥ Publisher: The Wild Rose Press ♥ Published: November 2014 ♥
Language: English ♥ ISBN-13: 978-1628306071