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Knowledge Base .: Archives Fiction and Non-Fiction Reviews .: Crime .: Reviewer: N. Goldman .: Hearts


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Author: Perry E. Zenon

ISBN: 1-58982-351-6


With its riveting audacious start depicting the most gruesome of crimes, Perry E. Zenon’s debut novel Hearts carries a level of thrill that demands a one-sitting reading.

The story unfolds in Louisiana where a hideous convicted serial killer has just escaped the bus that was transporting him along with several other convicts to the maximum-security penitentiary Angola located on the remote site of Felicia Point.

Larry Mules is not just a run of the mill criminal but he is a psychopathic serial killer who preys on women, killing them and perfectly removing their hearts from their bodies.  

What is so unspeakable and horrific about these murders is that he had been convicted of seventeen of twenty charges of murder. The other three were dropped due to technicalities and expediency for the legal system.   

The two detectives assigned to the case were Jack Callow and his partner Dean Smith. For three years they pursued Mules and finally caught up with him. Mules was sent to prison for life without parole and to say that it came as quite a jolt to them when they were informed of his escape from the prison bus is an understatement.

What makes this tale even more grotesque was that Mules would send Callow the heart of his latest victim in ziplock bags as if he imagined that the detective had “an appreciation for his line of work and kept a collection.” Moreover, Callow had more than a passing professional interest in capturing Mules, as his own wife had been the victim of one of these vicious crimes.

Although Hearts, with its horrifying and daunting plot may not be for readers with a squeamish or nervous disposition, nonetheless, it does introduce us to an author who shows a great deal of raw talent but is in need of a good content editor.

For one, I felt that Callow’s character was not fully developed and should have included more of an emotional charge and conflict resulting from the butchering of his wife at the hands of the hideous Mules. In other words, I couldn’t fully relate or sympathize with Callow or as we often hear the expression, no conflict no story. 

Another problem was the lack of focus as evidenced by the absence of a clear and cohesive flow from one scene to the next one. At times movements between scenes were very choppy and devoid of the essential ingredients of natural rhythm and cadence. In addition, many of scenes lacked the vividness and texture of imagery with little engagement to our senses that are indispensable to a good story that connects the author to the reader. 

Notwithstanding all of these shortcomings, I have to own up that I was stunned at Zenon’s imaginative last few chapters that turned the story into a bombshell and something I didn’t expect or anticipate.  Zenon has served us with an unforgettable story, however, I do hope he seeks out professional editing advice for his next novel.

Click Here To Purchase Hearts

Click Here To Read Norm's Interview With Perry Zenon.

The above review was contributed by: The Publisher & Editor of, Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, Retired Title Attorney: Norm is also a travel writer and together with his artist wife, Lily, the couple meld Norm's words with Lily's art. To check out their travel site click on   Click here to view Norm’s Reviews & Interviews.

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