LIFE RAGE by L.L. Soares (2012 Nightscape Press / 228 pp / tp)
Colleen is living a wasted life, sleeping with a different guy every night and wandering aimlessly through her daily routines. But when she reconnects with an old friend, a glimmer of hope arises, but it's short-lived: she witnesses him being torn apart by a maniac whose face she can't seem to see. In a panic, she runs for her life and finds herself on a private section of beach. She is friended by the owner of the property (a former Hollywood playboy) and his strange roommate, Viv, and is invited to stay until things settle down.
Across town, Sam Wayne is a psychologist who deals with anger management. He has unique methods for treating his patients and seems to have his life in order...but the countless people he has treated is beginning to affect him in ways he could've never imagined. He also wonders if the mass-murdering madman was/is a patient of his, and if not, could he possibly help him?
And when the mysterious maniac attempts to kill himself, he's only empowered more to release his rage in ways that could mean the end of life itself.
Soares' debut novel is a blend of sexually-charged psychological, supernatural, and extreme horror. We're introduced to people who may or may not be demons and some seriously hurting characters who are dealing with different levels of rage, anxiety, and depression. While LIFE RAGE spends perhaps a bit too much time developing its characters, the concluding payoff is worth the wait. The antagonist's rage begins with "mini-massacres" of small groups of people, then the rage itself starts to spread like a virus, infecting those around him, causing innocent bystanders to beat one another to death in some cringe-inducing scenes. It's like an apocalyptic take on the serial killer thing, complete with almost half the United States falling victim to the proceedings.
Now where's the Hulk when you need him? LIFE RAGE is NOT for the squeamish!