Laura Roberts's Reviews > Forgive Me, Alex

Forgive Me, Alex by Lane Diamond
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Jun 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: creepy-as-hell, indie-publishers, reviewed, ninjas, thrillers-n-killers, 2012
Read in July, 2012

** spoiler alert ** As someone with a minor ninja fetish, I must admit that when Lane Diamond's Forgive Me, Alex introduced the character of Ben Komura, I was excited to learn more. Though Komura's first physical appearance is delayed until after the midway point in the novel, his presence provides a unique twist to the traditional serial killer story. After all, it's not every day that you combat your enemy with the wisdom of the samurai and the blades of the ninja.

Komura has taken Tony on as his special student, teaching him aikido, jujitsu, karate and ninjutsu, as well as sword skills, history and more beyond the typical karate class world of belt acquisition and board-breaking. Komura's family tree can be traced back to the samurai, and although he is thoroughly American, he was also raised within Japanese traditions by parents who insisted on respect for their history and culture.

In training with Master Komura, Tony has even learned how to walk silently like a ninja, so Komura insists he ring the chimes in his dojo when he is ready to learn--part of a game that is meant to let Tony know when he has finally defeated his master in stealth.

Of course, Komura is always one step ahead: he's installed security cameras and monitors the visuals as well as any motion in the dojo below his living quarters.

Just as he is one step ahead of Tony physically, he is also able to display his mental dexterity when Tony asks him for help with his quest to destroy serial killer Mitchell Norton. Norton has recently been released from a psychiatric prison after 17 years, and suspiciously similar murders in the small town of Algonquin, Illinois have begun again. Tony insists it is Norton, whom he refers to as "the devil"; Norton has already killed Tony's little brother, Alex, and attempted to take the life of his girlfriend, Diana, as well.

Komura isn't convinced. He wisely inquires, "Is it justice you desire or is it vengeance?" His pupil makes no reply. He continues in this line of reasoning, asking "Are you certain it is him, Shadow? Do you have no doubts?" Tony insists he is 95 percent certain, and Komura pounces on this information. He expresses the opinion that Norton has corrupted Tony's mind, that he must find a way to know, not merely believe or feel that he understands the truth, before making his move. A true samurai does not take the lives of innocent people, after all.

Though Komura originally helps Tony rescue Diana, providing him the basic ninja weaponry and attire he needs for the mission, he does not allow this past connection to cloud his mind in pondering what he would do in Tony's position. Komura is detached from the outcome, as he is not directly involved, and can therefore properly advise his ninja-in-training. Along with Frank Willow, Tony's neighbor who functions as an adopted grandfather and mentor, he provides wise counsel and sound judgement--but when push comes to shove, he also provides the necessary tools and equipment to fight off the devil himself, allowing Tony to make his own decisions.

Smarts and skills and the way of the samurai? That's one very crush-worthy combination.

(Originally posted at Black Heart Magazine)
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message 1: by Lane (new) - added it

Lane Diamond Thank you for taking the time to post a thoughtful, comprehensive review. And thanks, too, for alerting readers to a potnetial spoiler. I so appreciate it. :-)


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