Life After Dane

Life After Dane - Edward Lorn Let's just get this bit of business out of the way up front: Edward Lorn is one hell of a writer.
And Life After Dane is one hell of a book.
Keeping a reader engaged for the entire duration of a novel featuring a protagonist so unsympathetic (presented in first person, no less) would be a herculean task for even the most accomplished author, but Lorn pulls the trick off with panache.
Ella, mother of the infamous and recently deceased serial killer Dane, stood idly by during his entire childhood while he sufferd horrific abuse at the hands of an unstable father. She has no good reasons for what she did or didn't do to help him, nor does Lorn try to offer any excuses on her behalf.
What happened, happened, and the consequences are what they are. That Lorn manages to make her so much more than a vaguely relatable character, deftly walking that tightrope between sympathy and revulsion for her, is stunning. That balancing act could have easily gone off the rails.
As the the story goes, poor little Dane grew up to become an even more twisted freak than his father, and was eventually captured and executed for his crimes.
Now he's back - but what he's after isn't entirely clear.
This book is bleak, certainly not for the faint of heart as it's chock full of cringe-worthy violence and disturbing scenarios. Honestly, I found certain sections quite hard to get through on account of some of the content. The contrast of the impact of descriptions of real violence versus supernatural violence in fiction is on full display here, as I took pleasure in reading the supernatural portions of the book, but felt fully drained by the harshness of Dane's past. There were times where I had to put the book down and shut the images out of my mind, so genuinely grueling and effective was the literature, without much room for relief in the narrative.
One particular accomplishment that I'd like to note here: the ending. Lorn nails it. I'll say no more.
For fans of unrelentingly dark fiction, Life After Dane is sure to impress.