Review: Shutterbug by Daniel I. Russell
Monday, January 21, 2008
Shutterbug by Daniel I. Russell
Wild Child Publishing
Ebook (.pdf): 78 pages
Daniel I. Russell's Shutterbug is a readable novella. After perverted photographer Harry Beacon rapes fifteen-year-old Jess Stevenson, then murders her mother, Jess must rebuild her life with her best friend Kerry, her father, who is troubled by memory loss, and boyfriend Dean. Beacon is locked away, yet from his prison cell he seems able to reach out to the now-eighteen-year-old Jess, and threaten every wall she has built against the pain he caused. Nowhere--not even in her own bed--is she safe from intrusive photography.
Beginning with Jess's mother's point of view, the story jars when it changes to Jess's pov after her mother's death. A gap of some years is glossed, and it almost feels as if the story is starting all over again. This is perhaps a case where the judicious use of flashbacks might have helped the story flow more smoothly. Motivations are rarely explored, making the story feel superficial at times.
Russell doesn't flinch from the more visceral details concerning the rape, but succeeds in not eroticising them. The scene where Jess's mother is waiting to confront Beacon is truly painful, as she observes a young girl who may be another victim being forced to apologise to her abuser.
Russell does a decent job of building suspense, but the plot covers well-worn ground that will be familiar to many readers. While it's possible to guess who's behind the attacks on Jess, it's probably better to relax and enjoy the ride.
Note: a print-out of the novella was reviewed.
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