Violent Ends is an anthology written by over fifteen authors (see below for names and links to their Goodreads profiles).
Now they do say that too many cooks spoil the broth, but not in this case, in Violent Ends all those authors make the broth a thing of beauty, in a literary sense of course.
It’s been a while since I have been so impressed by a collaboration of this kind. Usually they tend to be disconnected because of the variety voices and writing styles.
Violent Ends is completely seamless and if I hadn’t known any better I would have assumed it had been written by just a few or even one author. It is a spectacular way to approach the topic of a mass shooting, especially one committed by a teenager.
Each author gives a voice to a victim, a friend, an acquaintance, the killer, the sister, a neighbour, heck even the gun has its own voice. They tell their own story from their subjective point of view, be it their experience with Kirby before, during or after the tragic event.
I liked the way none of them focused on the actual event or the gory details. There was no need to do so, because the emotions and descriptions leading up to it sufficed to create the imagery. Each person knows a different facet of Kirby’s personality, which is an important aspect, because the perpetrator of a mass shooting isn’t just a killer.
Even Kirby has his moments of friendship, the times when he became the saviour for certain individuals. The writers clearly show how he saved people from bullies, had intimate relationships, was the reason some people in his vicinity decided not to give up. Kirby the friend, Kirby the boyfriend and even Kirby the confidante.
They also haven’t taken the obvious stereotypical route and described him as an outsider, a moody teenager clad head to toe in black attire with a gun obsession. Instead Kirby is just a normal young man with a happy family. He plays an instrument and marches in the school marching band. There is no apparent reason for his actions.
One of the most intriguing stories is that of Nate. The question of guilt arises, however it isn’t necessarily that of Kirby. Was there a reason Kirby became an outsider and filled with enough anger to kill? Could a singular incident have determined his path at a very young age? Nate sees evidence of Kirby’s later behaviour, as opposed to viewing the incident as a catalyst to said future behaviour. In fact it places the question of the why, and whether it all could have been avoided, firmly on the shoulders of society.
I really enjoyed this book, it’s a great read and one I highly recommend. It gives the reader a different perspective on such an inexplicable tragedy.
This anthology is by the following authors Shaun David Hutchinson (Editor), Kendare Blake, Steve Brezenoff, Delilah S. Dawson, Trish Doller, Margie Gelbwasser, E.M. Kokie, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Tom Leveen, Hannah Moskowitz, Elisa Nader, Beth Revis, Mindi Scott, Neal Shusterman, Brandon Shusterman, Courtney Summers, Blythe Woolston, Christine Johnson.