A few months ago, while looking through all of the books Flametree press had up for sale on their website, I noticed Hellrider. One look at the demon on that motorcycle and I was immediately sold on this book. I wanted to love Hellrider. I NEEDED to love Hellrider. As I sit here after finishing the latest by JG Faherty, I’m disappointed to say that I had some issues with it that really prevented me from doing so.
Eddie Ryder, a former bike gang member who’s been recently released from prison is struggling. With a father who walked out on the Ryder family, and a mother too sick to pick up the slack, Eddie is left as the sole provider for his mother and brother. In a terrible case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Eddie is accidentally murdered by members of his former gang. Unfortunately for the town of Hells Creek, getting rid of Eddie wasn’t that easy. The book starts off great. I loved the story of a former gang member doing the right thing and taking care of his family. What I loved, even more, was the idea of the ghost of Eddie Ryder returning to obliterate the men who took his life. Although the book did get repetitive, Faherty has a way of keeping me hooked JUST enough to keep reading even when there were times I was ready to put this on the DNF. As the story progresses, Eddie's vengeful ghost changes for the worse. It’s obvious that Faherty has to make you hate Eddie, and I’m ok with that. A main character you hate can be just as good as one you love. Eddie’s teenage brother Carson is meant to be the hero you root for. Carson is the opposite of Eddie, he’s smart, he’s responsible, and he doesn’t get into the kind of trouble Eddie did. So where did this go wrong? Simply put, as the ghost of Ryder becomes more powerful, Eddie loses control and essentially becomes a violent sex offender. If that wasn’t bad enough, I take some serious issue with the way that almost every female character is spoken about in this book. Many of the women here are essentially thrown in as sex objects for the Hellriders gang and frankly speaking, the way they are characterized is atrocious. It gets worse. Eddie's ghost goes from a violent sexual deviant to having sexual thoughts about his brother's teenage girlfriend, and there’s a point where those thoughts are almost acted on. What made all of this so noticeable and, in my opinion, so bad, is that it wasn’t necessary for the story at all. You really could have cut out all of those pieces, and what you’d have been left with is a much better book. That being said, the book around those parts was entertaining enough for me to continue to the conclusion.
By the time I had finished Hellrider, I was disappointed. I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. What makes my disappointment tougher to deal with, is that buried beneath the terrible depiction of many of the female characters, a propensity for sexual deviance, and a main character you hate (not in a good way) there was a very fun book that was ultimately held back by those issues.
John is a native of Cranston, Rhode Island. He served 4 years in the United States Marine Corps, deploying twice to Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s a lover of all things horror, pizza and cheeseburgers. When he’s not reading or watching boxing he spends his time with his amazing wife and two beautiful sons.