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A Brief Madness by Karisha Kal'ee'ay
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A Brief Madness (edition 2011)

by Karisha Kal'ee'ay

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1810561,019 (2.45)11
Member:lkernagh
Title:A Brief Madness
Authors:Karisha Kal'ee'ay
Info:Linden House Publishing (2011), Kindle Edition
Collections:12 in 12 Challenge, ER Books, Read but unowned
Rating:**1/2
Tags:Fiction, Serial Killer, Family, Grief, Writing, Read in 2012, 12 in 12 Challenge

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A Brief Madness by Karisha Kal'ee'ay

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a copy of this book through Early Reviewers. At the time the description must have appealed,however once I started reading I quickly lost interest. I made the effort to finish it am finally getting around to a brief review.

The plot follows the wife of a deceased serial killer and along the way develops relationships with an unlikely group of relatives and friends. My main issue with the story was that it was just too unlikely. I didn't find the characters believable or relate-able. I also found the break in the middle of the story too drastic in terms of character development.

Overall this book was not for me; the writing style, the subject matter, the character development, I found it all lacking. ( )
  jdarling29 | Apr 27, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was interested enough to request this book when it was offered through Librarything's Early Reviewer program. After struggling to read this 390 page book, I am now struggling to write the review. The story jumps from narrator to narrator and usually I have no problem with stories structured in that manner, as it is an easy way to provide different points of view. This one didn't work quite so well, partly because I felt that there were just too many voices clamoring for attention, even when they were not the narrator for a particular chapter. There is an interesting cast of characters - some well drawn, like Richard's mother Frances and his second wife Ember - but I feel that for the most part they come across as nothing more than a jumbled mess of confused humanity.

The story is also sadly in need of an editor. Some sections confuse time that was frustrating to read. Also, it was difficult at times to know who was speaking during dialogues. Simple things that just shouldn't happen in a published book and drives me crazy when it does.

The story premise has some potential and probably would have worked better at half the page count and only focusing on three or four characters, leaving out the confused characters and what I can only describe as added subplots that do nothing more than provide the reader with something to read - kind of like watching the halftime entertainment during the Superbowl, which really has nothing to do with the game itself.

This book was provided to me as part of Librarything's Early Reviewer program. ( )
  lkernagh | Apr 14, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An oddly uneven book with enough great patches to make it well worth keeping an eye on the author's future output. The central story about a family fighting to come to terms with the revelation that their husband/father/son is, in fact, a serial killer has plenty to keep the reader intrigued and it is in the weight given to what should have remained peripheral characters that the book falls down.

Richard dies of a heart attack while working in his allotment and what would have been an entirely personal tragedy for his family suddenly becomes big news when it is discovered that the fatal attack, in all probability, was caused by the effort of burying two young women, just the latest in a series of "never over two a month".

Despite some difficulties with dialogue (all the characters tend to speak with the same voice, making it sometimes difficult to follow who is speaking to whom) the insights into the hearts and minds of those left behind are often touching and revealing. However, the parallel story about other members of the grief councelling group feels as if it doesn't really fit here: almost as if the author has two different stories she wants to tell and couldn't bring herself not to abandon one of them.

However, there is enough here to demonstrate a great deal of ability and certain parts of the book read a little like passages from We Need to Talk About Kevin, one of the great novels of the past few years. I'm sure that, given judicious editing and constructive advice, Ms Kal'ee'ay has some excellent books just waiting to be put on paper. Not perfect but definitely recommended.
  Booksloth | Mar 20, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This would have been a much better book if half the characters weren't included. There were so many characters that it diluted the book down. The story should have been interesting - serial killer husband/son/father and how does that affect the individuals left behind, but then there were several characters thrown in there that didn't really have any relevance. ( )
  Fluffyblue | Mar 11, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This interesting novel centres around Ember, the second wife of Richard. Ember and none of Richard's family know that he was a serial killer and the novel deals with the years after Richard's unexpected death, caught in the act of burying two victims and how his family cope with re-writing their lives. Around Ember are a number of other characters, at first these feel like a baffling number, but for me this did settle down. Vicky is Richard's first wife and her new partner Carl are peripheral characters, but their daughter Bridgett is important and through this character we have occasional glimpses of the pain of finding out your Dad was a murderer. Frances, Richard's mother, is the one character who had some idea that Richard was not a good person and capable of evil. She discusses her relief when she heard that he had died, leaving his two families safe, but she keeps information she has on Richard's childhood close to her chest. Other characters appear and bring joy and colour to the novel; Tony and Irene, Horace and Katherine.
Much of the action is in Ember's apparently vast apartment in Los Angelos that I found difficult to get a clear picture of and no vision at all of the area it sat in. It certainly had many rooms and at least one balcony. The action also moves to Richard's childhood home with Frances in Georgia and there is a brief road trip to Nevada, but this is not a novel that is strong on place; the most grounded places are in Georgia.
The characters vary from those who are very one dimensional to those who are more rounded, to me Ember was the main voice we heard and the person who most articulated how it might feel to be in that situation. Richard's voice is heard occasionally, but the novel does not really try to get in to his head and explain his actions.
I found the novel interesting to read and engaging in some ways, although I do not think it is not a novel that will stay with me after reading. ( )
1 vote Tifi | Mar 5, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0984546448, Paperback)

While serial murderer Richard Earl Dayle lies dying of heart failure, he desperately urges his limbs to push the soft earth over his final victims. Preserving his persona is ultimately more important to him than survival. With the discovery of his crimes, his family is faced with a mystery: How could this be the man they all loved? As Richard's mother, daughter, wife, and ex-wife seek answers to this question, Karisha Kal'ee'ay illuminates their guilt, shame, and anger. Although the unfolding psychological and emotional drama reveals them as the victims they truly are, their laughter and affection transform a shared bereavement into an unbreakable bond. Searching for sympathy in a grief support group, Richard's widow Ember finds herself viewed with morbid fascination and suspicion. After all, is it really safe to befriend the wife of a serial killer? In time she grows close to a mourning transsexual whose circumstances are even more tragic than her own. As this relationship progresses, its surprising repercussions lead these unusual survivors through a remarkable evolution. Living in a small town in rural Georgia has always made Frances feel isolated, but after her son's crimes are uncovered she becomes an outcast. Perhaps it's time to sell her home, the place where her son grew up, but first she feels it necessary to gather with those Richard left behind in the hope that they can help each other understand what drove him to kill. Attempting to manage her own sorrow, Richard's teenage daughter Bridgett sets out to document the stories of his victims. This project brings together a curious cast of characters that will force Richard's family to confront the dark, hidden history of the man they thought they knew. When a murderer takes a victim, anguish and misery are predictable, but when he is exposed, it is the death of his facade that his loved ones must cope with. A Brief Madness is a fresh exploration into the aftermath of a serial killer's violence, as seen from the perspective of the murderer's own family.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:30 -0400)

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