Putnam, Jul 2002, 24.95, 352 pp.
Following his photograph in the Portifield paper registered paediophile Milosz Zeloski is relocated to the Bassindale Estate housing project, better known as ACID ROW, a caged environment for losers. He is considered “harmless” being a looker not a taker, but health care curmudgeon Fay Baldwin breaks the code of silence and informs her neighbors that a convicted abomination had just moved into the area. Ugly rumors quickly abound about Milosz who uses the alias Nicholas Hollis.
In the midst of the frenzied horde, a ten-year-old girl vanishes. No one cares that Amy may just be a runaway leaving an intolerable home situation. Instead a mob forms with its mission to castrate the monster that harmed the child though no evidence proves Nicholas did anything. Riots explode and a lynching mob form with Nicholas as the intended victim and anyone else who tries to stop the out of control neighbors especially since the outside world cannot enter the caged neighborhood.
The suspense is so terse yet realistic readers will feel endangered and trapped inside ACID ROW. The exciting story line provides a powerful warning message about the “out of sight” caging of society's misfits because “out of mind” could prove dangerous. The key to Minette Walters' latest thriller is that the cast of many still allows the audience to distinguish personalities even within the action packed plot. Though some minor subplots never quite fully return to the prime theme, fans of suspense thrillers will know they have just completed quite a walloping ride once they remind themselves it's only a novel that could easily happen today in any neighborhood.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner
Society's prejudices are highlighted by Minette Walters in this novel. We're forced to confront our own thoughts about such contentious issues such as paedophilia, socio-economic classes, racism and drugs. What can we do to fix these problems? Walters brings out these problems in Acid Row as
we explore the slums of government housing and see what happens when the mob discovers a convicted paedaphile is living among them and the lengths it will take to protect
its children. When its efforts get out of hand, the tension and horror of kidnapping, rape and riot attacks leave you on the edge of your seat praying they can rescue the innocent from the misguided rioters.
This report prepared by Donna Maroz