If you have ever watched a movie and thought to yourself “Wow, I think that could happen,” then you certainly are not alone. Author Rod Glenn effectively portrayed that thought in his book SINema but took an approach most of us would not: mass murder. Han Whitman (short for Hannibal) is not his real name but one he produced to use as a pen name while on holiday in the small village of Haydon in England. Han, by all accounts, is a friendly fellow obsessed with movies. All of his little quirks can be displaced for a time and attributed to the fact that he’s a writer and as everyone knows, writers are quirky.
Han left the city, his best friend, his dog and his movie rental store (of course!) to go to Haydon for one goal – to wipe out the entire town. The experiment as he called it was to see if a normal, well-adjusted man could simply go to a village of people he didn’t know, assimilate himself into their lives and then systematically and brutally slaughter each and every one of them. The second part of this master plan is that he would get away scot-free and return to his normal life utterly unaffected by the mass killings.
Haydon was chosen because, and this is brilliant, its non-existent crime rate. The village had fewer than 500 people in it to begin with. Han allocated six months for his experiment and set about bugging and wire-tapping the village; he “tuned in” to the residents to track their whereabouts, how they felt about him and any dirty little secrets they may be hiding. Let me tell you that small town have some of the worst secrets you could ever imagine and Haydon was no different.
Rod Glenn was able to place this seemingly normal guy into a seemingly normal town and then make you, as the reader, root for him. He is walking around slaughtering people and enjoying it (mostly) and here you are feeling sick and dirty because you like the guy. Han had many inner conflicts when it came to certain of Haydon. He enjoyed their conversations, their bodies (yeop – he found a love) and their presence. The experiment was just that, a test. He needed to pass for his own sanity as well as his freedom from the law.
You are thrust into the persona of Han right from the start of the book. You learn a little about him and his life. There is nothing outrageous about the guy. Watch the news and you will always hear neighbors of serial killers proclaim that, “oh my, he was so normal. Never hurt a fly,” then come to find a mass grave under his rosebush. Welcome to the world of Han. This mere detail is what is most intriguing about SINema as it places you into this normal sort of guys’ brain and his inner thoughts begin to seem normal to you.
I highly recommend Sinema by Rod Glenn. It’s available as a paperback and eBook through Wild Wolf Publishing.
SINema – Author Rod Glenn