Blood Rust: W. Hock Hochheim
One man struggles to find a place for himself in a world that he no longer understands. Rusty cannot remember his former life and is haunted by experiences that have brought him to his present situation. Having to steal, kill and even injure others in order to have the simple things in life does not really bother him. Remorse is not in his vocabulary and the fact that he was a former NYPD detective seems to elude him. Working in the Organized Crimes Unit connected with mob members, corrupt cobs luring him into becoming what he is today a meth dealer, pimp and anything put what he used to be. Tricked into meeting them at Grant’s Tomb he was set up and shot in the head. Wherever, Rusty really is no one really knows. The person he was before no longer exists but yet in some ways he does. Living in a vacuum you might say with so many empty spaces needing to be filled, he is brain damaged, bi-polar you might say, a sociopath, psychopath who seems to revel in hurting others and terrorizing people. The one man that caused it all was Alphonso “The Crepe Hanger.” So, why would he ever listen to anything that he has to say at the present time? The man, who caused his injury and lured him to Grant’s Tomb, calls him and informs him of something that might awaken the real Rusty. The murder of the wife of a Chinese Diplomat’s wife referred to as the old China Doll case has resurfaced again since the man convicted is about to be executed. Steverino Downing was set up. Someone created an elaborate con, mob executed in an international drug smuggling conspiracy. So, why would Rusty decide to find out more? Why would he care? The mob shot him in order to take care of business and leave no stone unturned. Will he investigate and save a man that is innocent? Will the state of Connecticut execute this man?
Within his mind he revisits many things from his past yet holds on to the present. Trying to divorce himself from what happened when handling this case he finds himself inside the police precinct facing his fellow officers and his captain. The conversation shared by the author between the Captain and Rusty allows readers to understand that they have some type of bond, his conscious is definitely not clear and that he hopes to find out who set him up and caused an innocent man to be imprisoned. His harsh language, his physical appearance and actions all lend themselves to allowing readers to know that this man definitely needs some type of intervention and help to restore him to his former self. Yet, the injuries he incurred have not all been addressed and the fact that he would rather live the life of a recalcitrant and vagrant is really sad.
Like the flame in a candle that takes time to ignite and rise up or the flash of a camera that takes in an entire scene, something within Rusty caused him to flare up, burst or detonate drawing him to the Freedom Science Group for help. The character draws you into his life, recreates the day he was shot, sees the people involved and relives the entire incident while riding the subway. Sometimes things happen, thoughts change and one event such as what the author describes that occurred at Grant’s tomb can change the direction or course of a person’s life as it did Rusty’s. One move in a different direction or path would have created another outcome. But, entering the halls of the Freedom Science Group and meeting Dr. Prevell and Peter, might help take each of the remaining fragments of this man, his mind and body and unite them.
As Rusty undergoes tests, given medication and electric shock therapy his brain seems to focus on the events, his hope to find answers ignited and the information received from the captain about the neighbor who witnessed the murder found. But, will they be able to sort it out in time? Just what is really wrong with his brain and what experimental treatment will they order for him to be in top form? Learning more about the husband of the murder victim, the drug case that was involved, the police that were corrupt and the part the Mafia played, leads readers to believe that things are definitely going to become tougher for Rusty and those helping him before the final shot is given, the last test is administered and Rusty’s fate is known.
Things change when he revisits another lab, the two police officers that are dirty wind up there and the end result will definitely surprise the reader as one man has to decide the fate of these two dirty cops, the people from the foundation have to aid in their medical attention and the reader must decide what is real and what is Rusty’s imagination. Is he delusional or is he really seeing people that are not there?
Rusty has befriended so many people throughout this novel but the two that will always remain with him are Peter and Sad. Taking chances that no one else would ever dare to take, traveling from the New York to South Africa and then Shanghai, China this book takes readers across many difficult terrains, inside the mind of a group called the Triad, the workings of dirty cops and one woman named Dirty Paws whose means of getting the job done makes others look weak. Allowing Rusty to run on his own at times, deal with his treatments and ultimately hope to save an innocent man would mean taking down the witness, the neighbor and the Chinese Diplomat. Just what he does and whether he succeeds will keep your heart racing, blood bumping, electricity charged and energy level on alert before all is said and done and the final shot is fired. Does he outsmart the Mafia; take down the Chinese Triad and even face off with Somalia pirates in time to save this man from execution? One voice, one man, one hope to seek forgiveness and redemption for more than just his sins. One man whose life was turned around the day he entered the foundation and might find his way back to being the man he was before.
Author W. Hock Hochheim was a U.S. Army investigator and Texas police investigator. He was a patrol officer and former private detective who seems to have shared his expertise in these fields within the novel in a unique way. While Rusty was quite strong, trained when he worked in the Organized Crimes Unit, the author at present owns and operates an international combative training company servicing 11 allied countries in the world.
One man whose reflection changes throughout the book and whose image remains the same but within his mind something happens and you the reader will learn whether he receives forgiveness can forgive himself or remains the same. Change can happen but when betrayed, beaten, lied to and sucker punched sometimes fighting back is the only way. Sometimes as Rusty states we do things for the right reasons. A book that will certainly make the reader think: how far will someone go to save the life of another and find absolution for himself? Just what is next for Rusty and will the author bring him back to allow readers to learn if he has changed.
The story is told in the first person narrative vividly crafted by the author to allow readers to hear Rusty’s voice and understand his every move. The graphic descriptions of the many incidents, the violent actions allow readers to feel engaged in the story, part of what the characters are going through and create a mental picture in their mind of the events. This book is definitely worth reading as the messages are loud and clear when certain choices are made we often have no choice but to live with the consequences. Rusty at times seems to have no conscience or remorse for his actions this comes through each time he takes down those that caused him to be in the situation he is now. A very explosive book and definitely one that leaves room for a sequel.
Fran Lewis: reviewer