Described like this, you might think it's all a big mess, but I'm happy to report otherwise. The author manages to keep it tight, and there's a method to all this madness supported by some pretty twisted rationality that drives the narration. Definitely not your typical escapist quick read. I really needed to pay attention since there's not much dialogue, and the narrator frequently digresses into the past, describing and referencing the events that trigger his present actions.
And most of all, it's not easy to stomach the sick shit like this:
I do believe that no woman can be taken only through rape. Except for the oddball, women are natural whores, and to make one requires very little. It's like Hoover said, a chicken in every pot and a whore in every bed. It's the American dream. A vine-covered cottage which is the price a guy has to pay.....
It doesn't change the fact that every man sells his soul to make a buck and every woman sells her body to share it with him. And it isn't really a bad arrangement...
But Ogden Nash once said it and I'll buy it: give the sissy his seduction, the he-man wants his rape.
Crazy. Simply insane. Would dare to guess that it was probably even more offensive in its time than it would be today in (unlikely) case it would even get published.
So yeah, Revenge is not a book about heist or rape or assassination. Instead, it's a character study of the sociopath. A guy who is full of hate and loathing for himself and society.
Intense stuff, and even though it does get a bit repetitive at times, there are still plenty of fascinating and occasionally even funny parts. As an example, I kind of liked his planning of the crimes. He's an ex D.A. assistant, so he knows all the police technicalities and therefore prepares everything in advance with the utmost attention to detail and enthusiasm. In his words: "It was a problem I enjoyed solving". To be honest, the guy does have a pretty decent sense of humour. Check out the 'cool lines' section of the facts below.
Not so humorous are the parts that deal with his mental state. There are numerous factors and circumstances like his dominant father, shameful (in his mind) army service, distrust of women, sexual frustrations, etc. They are, of course, all intertwined, and it's hard to separate causes from the effects, and I'm not sure whether I managed to solve the mystery of what had made this guy insane. I think the final piece of the puzzle lies in the bizarre ending in which he finds refuge in his best friend's house. Not sure how to interpret the whole episode with the wife and kids and will have to think about it a bit. One confusing little nasty mindfuck this is.
The object of desire: