Not all old folk are harmless...
How far can people be pushed before they start pushing back? It's an interesting concept, particularly in view of the current climate where violent crime appears to be escalating and politicians and police have a predilection to pencil-pushing rather than actually tackling the problem. But when it is the elderly and infirm that are taking it upon themselves to meet out justice - what then?
Hannah is a grandmother and widow. She lives in a quiet lane in a rural area, which is beset by young hooligans who terrorise the elderly population (although they don't seem to discriminate about whom they turn their nasty attentions to). After her sister, Jessie's garden is trashed by a local gang, including (to her dismay) her own grandson; it seems that Hannah's world is shrinking rapidly. Coupled with the recent knowledge of her own terminal condition and her sister's complete introversion and refusal to speak to her, Hannah finds herself reminiscing about her life and how things went wrong. When Hannah bumps into an old friend and discovers that there is a group of individuals calling themselves the 'Silver Bees' who are determined to take out any would-be attacker by carrying bombs around with them, it initially seems a preposterous idea. However, as Hannah contemplates the apparent innate cruelty of her grandson and the damage he has and will continue to cause; the notion of taking responsibility for her grandson's behaviour into her own hands slowly becomes a very real possibility.
A Case of Wild Justice looks at several controversial issues, not least the actions and justifications for suicide bombers, with repeated analysis of the repercussions of 9/11. It also attempts, with a great degree of success in my opinion, to make our old folk become real people - with feelings, desires, fears, enthusiasm and determination. When is it ok to take the law into your own hands? Whether that be through punishing the guilty or ending the suffering of a loved one.
There are some poignant moments in A Case of Wild Justice and there is certainly plenty of fodder for topical debate, however, if you are pernickety like me, you will find that the book is in need of re-editing as there are many textual errors, which are an irritating distraction. If you can get past that and the idea of grannies knocking off young hooligans appeals to you - then you will certainly get a lot out of this novel.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012