BOOK REVIEW: FLASHES OF VICE VOL I by VINCENT DE PAUL
BOOK: Flashes Of Vice Vol I
AUTHOR: Vincent De Paul
GENRE: Flash Fiction
ISBN 13: 978-1490332505
ISBN 10: 1490332502
FIRST PUBLISHED ONLINE: 2014
FIRST PRINTING: Kenya, 2016
PUBLISHER: Mystery Publishers (K) Ltd
Another epic piece of literature from the very adept author of TWISTED TIMES: Son of Man.
The book is a collection of short stories which apart from being interesting, play a huge role in revealing the ills and norms of the world. Today’s society can relate with the themes and subjects the author touched on while writing the stories.
The first story which could also be the shortest short story I’ve read in a while, touches on the subject of rape. Sexual abuse in families, and how victims struggle to show what they go through, but get ignored at times. The narrator, a caring mother who would do anything to protect her child, shot her husband who had sexually violated their daughter, Tracy. Her actions sent her to prison for two decades.
Drug trafficking is a major problem universally. In “Daddy’s Girl”, we are shown how sometimes the law is ignored.In this story, the daughter of Chief of Defence Forces is caught with Heroin at the airport. She is Rude to the inspector and brags how her dad and uncle are powerful, and they will get her out of there. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen and she is dragged to the cells where she would spend her weekend to be charged on Monday.
“Darkest Place of All” is One of my best stories. The story like others, starts in an appealing manner. Good diction and flow of words, new characters who the reader is eager to find out their roles in the tale. There’s something about this story; suspense, suspense and more suspense. It leaves you craving for more. There I was reading, then bam! It’s a confession. I must say the author had me there a good one. In this story, the narrator is attending a funeral. The funeral is of his late wife. His daughters are there; sad, forlorn, missing their mother. The narrator feels bad for her daughters for they’ll grow up without their mother. He then says of how unfortunate it is that his wife died with the big secret, the identity of her killer. The narrator goes on to say that it’s only him and Mandy (his dead wife) who know the killer. How is this? It’s the narrator who killed Mandy. Wow. That came as a surprise to me. I enjoyed that bit. Reasons for the murder? The narrator described his wife as a whore. It pained him that she was the escort of the rich in the country. He was angry that even after going out with all the men, his wife still came back home and called him “Babe”. Deception is a bad thing.
Themes Covered in The Book
- The author writes of infidelity in marriages, politics and blackmail.
- Land grabbing and the justice system (A very common narrative in Kenya).
- Violence and revenge for those oppressed
- Use of and effects of drugs.
- Lack of of education, poverty,
- Children who become parents at a young age and how it affects the life of the babies they give birth to, plus their future.
- Corruption in places of authority and how some individuals are treated better than others; Inequality.
- Rape. This is done by people who are not strangers. People we know and perhaps interact with on a daily basis. In one story a father rapes his daughter, in another a lady is raped severally by her disgruntled lover.
- Terrorism – how it has affected Islam as a religion. The role religion plays when terrorism acts happen
Allow Me To Be A Critic
I am not comfortable with one story though. “Church Hypocritical”. I know the author intended to show the evil and irrational/illogical activities and routines that have become a norm in some religious institutions. His aim may have been to innocently display the bad in churches. This story however felt like a direct attack to the Catholic Church. I felt like the author was condemning some of the Catholic church doctrines.
When someone mentions the “Pope” for instance, one pictures the leader of the the Catholic Church. Unlike Kings or Presidents, we only have one Pope. The dogma laid by the catholic church have been existing for years. They are acceptable. I wish the author could just say “The Church” instead of the “Catholic church”. Or maybe use different examples to bring out his message. I didn’t like the story much. That however is my humble opinion. I’m not saying I’m right. That’s just how I felt after reading the story.
My general conclusion is that it’s an impressive book. The author did well in highlighting vices which are recurrent in the 21st century. The brevity of the stories is also commendable. Some stories are so short and great that one can complete reading them in under one minute.
These are things which happen in our society all the time. Crimes which occur sometimes in broad daylight. Often times the good citizens help solve and stop these vices, other times society is mum, for people don’t want to be mixed up in problems they are not part of. Other times folks fail to report because they are too afraid to say anything, and don’t trust the authorities.
The vices highlighted don’t happen just in Kenya, such stories are heard of across the region, and the whole world. The book is a must read for anyone who gets a hold of it. This is the best book that I’ve read in the month of August 2016.