Persona Non Grata
D.C. Grahame’s Persona Non Grata kick-starts a dark, gritty new series following a London vigilante. Indy Vinyar and his twin brother live on the fringes of society with deep connections to London’s underground. A series of escalating violent events drives Indy to adopt a vigilante persona and seek vengeance. As one man, he has little hope of change but as a larger-than-life figure he aims to combat society’s apathy. That drive only drags him deeper into the filth and throws his past, his family’s legacy, and those he cares for in the spotlight.
Indy is a fascinating character as he suffers from bipolar disorder and rage issues. He’s learned to channel his rage into controlled violence, but the mania and depression incorporates some intriguing character elements. Even more so, his twin brother counters his own mental health issues with little issue. The contrast between the brothers works well and adds depth to what seems like a standard superhero story.
This is no traditional superhero story. While Indy does become a masked fighter named Hades, he has no powers or special abilities. He makes his own costume from everyday materials, but does get some minor help from a Q-like ally. Most of his kit is grounded in reality, such as his suit’s built-in taser that is tweaked into powering a small electromagnet. This comes at the cost of the offensive taser and stability.
There’s a subplot of a serial killer striking seemingly at random. While Indy confronts other evil, this killer remains in the background but subtly present throughout. Indy eventually encounters the killer in a showdown featuring some surprising twists. The shifting antagonists results in fascinating story that never settles into a predictable plot.
Characters are dynamic and lively with unique back-stories. This allows for engaging motivations, despite being less than likeable people. No one is truly perfect, and that makes for a more enthralling read. A few of the secondary characters with grandiose personalities seem cliché at first blush but develop into true adversaries well, Molar, a prime example. Snappy prose and dialogue work to great effect, barring a few missteps. Occasionally, characters speak with an unusual and jarring cadence. The prose dips into overly verbose that not only feels out of place but forced in to sound smarter. These occurrences stand out because the rest of the prose flows so well with a subtle blend of pulp and literary tone only to dip into trying too hard.
Persona Non Grata finds a London underground boxer breaking free of society to become a beacon of hope in a violent, snappy, drama with surprising heart. The story blends superheroes, drama, romance, and noir into an engaging character study with explosive action.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||389 pages|
|Publisher||Orewa Storytelling Company|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|