I had to think long and hard about writing a review for The Angel of Vengeance (A Glimpse Into Hell) by Wade H. Garret. If I was writing this review uncensored, I would state that it has some very good parts and some very bad parts and while I wouldn’t go into heavy detail I would tell my readers what they have to be aware of if they’re interested in reading this book. The author has a one page disclaimer about the book, and for a good reason. The thing is, I almost didn’t want to take a chance on writing an uncensored review because the author’s disclaimer essentially says “This book is graphic, gory, upsetting, politically incorrect, and offensive. Don’t read if you’re sensitive.” Eh, I’ve read worse. The sticking point for me was that also in his disclaimer, he talked about receiving negative reviews for the book and responding to the reviewer. Granted, the response was probably the most well-handled “Well, I like my writing so whatever” I’ve read in some time. Still, reviews are not meant to stroke an author’s ego or keep the book high in the ratings (for example, on Amazon where I rented this book as a Kindle Unlimited, keeping the average rating of the book between four and five stars). When I review a book, I may very well sing its praises. More often than not, I’m critical of the book. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book, but it means that I’ve read the book, I’ve thought about the book, and finally I want to share both the good and the bad of the book for other readers. It’s intimidating to read in an author’s disclaimer that they know what content is in their book and if it upsets you, well, you knew what you were getting into. In the end, I am going to review The Angel of Vengeance (A Glimpse Into Hell) because I have thoughts on the book and I want to share them with my readers.
The Angel of Vengeance takes place in a basement torture chamber, predominantly as a long, extremely graphic conversation between the anti-hero character Seth Coker and a man named “Richard”, “Dicky” for short. Here’s what you need to know: The conversation is part conversation between Seth and Dicky and part of a way to flash back to all of Seth’s handiwork, some that is lying around the basement in various locations. The conversation is broken down into stories that span two to three chapters followed by Seth showing Dicky what the bodies of his corpses look like in the present day. Seth is one of those characters that you will be conflicted on because he is a vigilante, he is not a good guy, his sanity is probably shot, and yes, he loves torturing people…but he has a sense of justice about it. Whenever Dicky asks Seth why he enjoys torture, Seth says that he’s doing it to bring justice to the victims of his victims. The way Seth views the criminal justice system is that it’s broken and doesn’t punish the people that need punishment the most, so he comes in to set things “right”.
I did have a segment of chapters that I completely understood Seth’s sense of justice, twisted as it was. “The Shattered Reflection of the Crescent Moon” “Human Octopus” and “The Gruesome Torture Device” tell the story of three men that, among other things, tortured and killed fifty-three shelter animals for no reason. Oddly, the paragraph in “The Shattered Reflection of the Crescent Moon” specifically about the shelter animal torture doesn’t go into the same graphic detail that goes into Seth’s methods of vengeance. It’s still extremely stomach-turning if you’re an animal lover and you don’t like reading about animal torture. The thing is that if animal torture makes your blood boil, you probably feel like anyone who tortures animals deserves to be tortured the same way themselves so they know how it feels. Maybe you even support Seth in these three chapters. In real life when I have a clear head I would never say “Torture the animal-torturers worse than what they did, but in reading these chapters I felt that primal sense of “Kill! Kill! Kill!”
People who have a cause that’s near and dear to their heart will probably have a similar reaction to myself. If you are anti-elder neglect or you’re anti-violence against women or you’re anti-child abuse, you might also find some segments where you support Seth’s brand of justice.
Although I did have three pet chapters (no pun intended) that I got into, I found myself wondering where Seth believed it was his duty to humanity to right every criminal justice system wrong through torture. Of course if we believe Seth’s account, it’s that victims of violent acts shouldn’t suffer without getting some kind of peace and since he’s capable of it, that’s his life’s work. That said, Seth is extreme in handing out justice and sometimes he has no connections to the people’s he’s helping/”helping”. There’s a plot twist in the final few chapters where readers learn why “Dicky” is Seth’s latest victim and there is minor justification. I won’t spoil it because it’s worth reading for. More often than not, it feels a lot like Seth tortures people for the fun of it and uses “I’m correcting injustices” as a way to shield his twisted hobby. It’s hard for me to get into Seth’s mindset. I don’t know that anyone can.
After reading The Angel of Vengeance, I had some final thoughts for potential readers. First, you absolutely need to take the author’s disclaimer seriously. This is not extreme horror like you’d get from Edward Lee (which I’ve read a few works from and will tell you that the version of extreme horror by Mr. Lee is more ridiculous than thought-provoking and hard to handle). There is nothing supernatural about this book. There is not a sense of “This part is gory but you’re supposed to find it laughable” with this book. There is some very dark humor in this book and if you read the reviews on Amazon, people have appreciated it. The humor is more about the weird exchanges between Seth and Dicky than, say, slapstick. Definitely keep in mind that this is not light reading. Second, if you are a book reviewer, don’t be afraid to write an honest review. This book challenged me, not because it had large vocabulary words but because enjoying it or appreciating it or being completely turned off was a moral dilemma. In the end I had to write a review of it and express why I was so challenged by it.