Charlaine Harris wrote ” A Secret Rage” back in the mid-80’s, long before she became famous for her mysteries and her vampire series.
It can be read as a short, well-constructed mystery that keeps the reader guessing while giving an insight into life in a small college town in the South, but it is much more than that.
At its core, ” A Secret Rage” is a hard-hitting, unflinching look at what rape is, what it does to the people it is inflicted on and to the people around them.
The rape scene is brutal and vivid without being exploitative. The descriptions of the impact of the rape, of the rage it produces, of the scars it leaves, of the bravery needed to face it and the love needed to respond to it are emotionally hard-hitting because they feel authentic and unfiltered.
This is a novel with an agenda: no woman deserves to be raped and no rapist should be allowed to go unpunished.
It is also a story about how women can help and support each other or how they can inflict more pain through shame and blame.
Recorded Books produced “A Secret Rage” as part of the “Southern Voices” series. Johanna Parker’s performance brings these voices to life and anchors the story in an authentic setting that makes it harder for the reader to distance themselves from the story.
This is not a light read. If you aren’t in tears, if your rage isn’t stirred, if your revulsion is not awakened, then you weren’t listening to the same book I was.
Much as I love the Sookie Stackhouse books (so much better than the TV series) and the Harper Connelly books, I think this is the book of hers that I will remember the longest.