Written by Anonymous-9 — Dean Drayhart is in prison. He’s a self-confessed serial killer, but with a difference. His wife and child were mowed down in a hit and run, the same accident which left him a paraplegic and barely able to move. Worse, the perpetrator was never caught.
Drayhart wanted revenge and he gained it in the strongest possible fashion, by finding other hit and run drivers in and around Los Angeles who’d escaped justice and killing them. Dean is aided and abetted in his vigilante crimes by an a unique sidekick – a monkey called Sid. He’s highly intelligent and well trained, and when Dean says ‘hard bite’ Sid goes for the victim’s jugular.
But Dean was caught and is now awaiting trial for these crimes, which took place in Hard Bite. However, a crime syndicate run by Maria Orella, wants revenge because Dean killed Maria’s son, another hit and run driver. So in an eye-for-an-eye response the Orellas want to wipe out everything Dean loves – his prostitute girlfriend Cinda, his murderous monkey Sid, and finally Dean himself.
First, they break Dean out of prison, but he manages to slip out of their clutches. Reunited with Cinda, the pair try to find Sid, who’s been on his own since Drayhart was caught. A chase follows with Drayhart pursued across and around Los Angeles by both the law and the Orellas.
It is worth noting that Bite Harder is the sequel to Hard Bite. Although it isn’t necessary to read the first novel it would help as a number of the characters and their motivations are driven by the events previously outlined.
Hard Bite was such a revelation to read, very different from anything else this reviewer had come across. However, Bite Harder doesn’t have that same shock value – and it can’t. It’s like watching Twelve Monkeys or Fight Club for the second time. The big twist is out of the bag. A monkey? And it’s a weapon! However, this is not a criticism. It would have been easy for the author to give up writing about these unusual characters simply because of this point. Thankfully Anonymous-9 didn’t, and she has produced another thoroughly enjoyable novel.
The author excels at setting up tussles among her creations. What’s interesting is that Drayhart spends much of the novel conflicted. He wants to be caught. He’s seriously disabled and is desperate to be set free, reunited with his wife and daughter. They’re the only reason he took up a life of crime. But then again he has a positive relationship with Cinda and Sid – if you ignore the fact the former is a prostitute, the second a killer primate. The Orellas are a mix of bright (Maria) and dumb (the children), but all are clear on one thing: Drayhart must die. They’re slightly slapstick, which suits the mood of this noir-ish affair.
Finally, the author also successfully puts us in the mind of Sid. We are able to witness what he thinks and feels. And this is what she does best, creating this mix of grit, sadness, positivity and humour out of which pops a story.
It’s thoroughly good fun, go get it…
Bite Harder is released 1 September. Read our review of Hard Bite here.
CFL Rating: 5 Stars