Ultimate Revenge: Involuntary Transsexual
Herman Franck, Esq.
Trafford Publishing (2010)
Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views (11/10)
“Ultimate Revenge: Involuntary Transsexual” is the story of Ben Nightingale, a man who takes a unique path when the legal system fails. His fiancée, Erika, is raped and a legal technicality allows the rapist, Henry, to avoid serving his full sentence. Ben wants Henry to be punished, but he figures even confinement isn’t enough punishment. He wants Henry to go through what Erika went through.
Of course, Henry can’t face the same type of ordeal in exactly the same way because he’s a guy so Ben transforms Henry into Hazel, the involuntary transsexual. What happens after the transformation is complete is something that neither Ben nor Henry could have predicted.
While the story is definitely different than just about anything else on the market today, I did find the plot to be interesting, although the delivery made it suffer. There were also a few weak points in the storyline that really should have been addressed. As far-fetched as the plot is, the biggest stretch of the imagination is when Ben’s past and present meet. Not too much can be said to avoid revealing any spoilers but one encounter in particular was just too over-simplified. The simplicity of this one meeting basically sets the pace for the last third of the book, avoiding any of the emotional depth that Franck seemed to be reaching for during the first half of the story. Consequently, a profound
shallowness made the last few chapters as predictable as a children’s fairy tale.
I thought Henry was the most interesting character out of everyone else. His troubled past is explored and it’s easy to see how and why he became the way he is. He’s a monster who discovers a conscience, learning that he doesn’t have to be the way he is. Unfortunately for Henry, this enlightenment doesn’t sway Ben’s thirst for vengeance. Ben’s plight does a good job of showing that there’s more than one victim in a rape crime. While Erika undoubtedly receives the harsher punishment, Ben is not left unscathed by the attack.
As Henry discovers he doesn’t have to be a beast, Ben slowly starts to realize that inside him might lurk a monster.
While the plot had a few holes in it, the writing itself was the story’s worst enemy. Statements such as:
“The life of a newsman is not an opulent one, but what they lack in money they make for in
“Unfortunately, when you punch a rapist, sometimes you pay dearly for it.”
Sentences such as these interfere with the reading process. Instead of seeing the story unfold in my mind, it’s simply being told to me. We are shown that Ben lives in a shabby neighborhood and drives an older car. We don’t need to point-blank be told that his life isn’t an opulent one. Likewise, when we see Henry retaliate against Erika’s surprise attack, we don’t have to actually be told that punching a rapist can come with consequences. These things are shown so they don’t have to be told.
There are far too many of these incidents throughout the whole book, and it occasionally made for difficult reading. Another item that I found odd was the songs. Henry likes to sing and every time he sings, a couple of pages are used to provide the lyrics to the song – the whole song. While I occasionally enjoy knowing what the words are to certain music, I don’t enjoy having those lyrics sprinkled liberally throughout the story I’m trying to read.
“Ultimate Revenge: Involuntary Transsexual”contains a unique twist on revenge provides an interesting concept, but a weak foundation combined with a simplistic conclusion removed much of the drama that could have existed.