Release Date: July 20, 2011
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Purchase: Amazon │ iTunes │ Kobo
Exploring the dark side of social media and the human psyche, LoveClub takes the reader on a twisted journey into the mind of a sexual predator, and the dark world of LoveClub. The streets of Hungary are being hunted...
When a string of gruesome suicides are suggested to be the work of a serial killer, Lili, a young and aspiring journalist, wants to expose the details of the case to the public after one of her friends turns up a victim. The Budapest Police Department bring on renowned criminal psychologist David Lengyel to aid their investigation, but some are wary of his presence when they learn of his past.
All of them, however, are thrust into a world of sex, drugs, and death.
They enter the digital world of LoveClub.
Before you get caught in the rarely seen 2 cauldron rating, let me start by saying that the cover art is really inviting. It's gritty, it's red and black and the man choking the girl promises violence and lots of deviancy. It's one of those mind-f*ck books I'm fond of reading just to get me worked up. That said, LOVECLUB by Levente Lakatos was a bust.
I'm not sure if LOVECLUB is one of those lost in translation kind of thingies. It was originally published, and allegedly HUGE, in Hungary so in retrospect I was wondering if part of the story didn't translate well which would explain my response to it. And I'm not just talking about the language but everything relating to Hungary, the culture, police procedure, the people, etc., as opposed to the US. I say this because I'm Filipino, we're generally passive-agressive and react to certain things differently and as English is my second language, we have our own -isms, accent and phrasing, that some people find strange sometimes.
That aside, LOVECLUB's plot was arbitrary because the multiple POV's Lakatos employed wasn't utilized well. Personally I love this style of storytelling because we're let in the different character's thoughts and feelings giving them dimension. LOVECLUB was told in 3 major POV's, Lili (the next victim), Laura (the detective) and Bloodsmoke20 (the villain). Lili is an investigative journalist who's friend was was Bloodsmoke20's last victim. Instead of exploring this connection and showing us her pesky reporter side, putting herself in danger and uncovering secrets of her own, we're regaled by her love life! Laura, the detective who should be hot on Bloodsmoke's case was more concerned with her partner's injury, whom she had a brief affair with, than catching the bad guy. Now Bloodsmoke20's POV is the only thing that made sense, his was a vivid description of violence, sex, dysfunction and evilness it's a great monster evolution story.
So really there might be some character developments but it didn't have bearing on the LOVECLUB's premise overall. We have this life and career changing event happening and yet the leads are moving in different direction. And where is Dr. Lengyel?! The series is named after him and yet he took the backseat instead of driving the story!
I wish the story was told in Bloodsmoke20 and Dr. Lengyel's perspective instead, that would've made a more suspenseful and exciting story. I say this becuase Dr. Lengyel, has a Jekyll/Hyde tendency which is the reason why he gets these loonies a lot. That would've been a great examination of contrast turning him into an anti-hero like Dexter and Walter White (Breaking Bad).
I really feel crestfallen after reading LOVECLUB because the premise holds a lot of potential to it! Moving forward, I hope that the succeeding novels explore Dr. Lengyel's character because I have a feeling his demons are on the surface and I really want to see that happen. He has the makings of joining Hannibal Lecter's team and I'm rooting for his maker that he succeeds in doing so.
You know, I am always amazed at how you manage to restrain your instincts. It was once revealed that there's a monster living inside you, too. Be prepared, because it will eventually break free.