Rob isn’t exactly the type of character who elicits sympathy or empathy. He seems to have too many secrets and dodgy deals going on in the background.
A seemingly random act of violence throws the family into a quagmire of danger, and Rob into a tailspin of panic and guilt. What does he know that he isn’t telling anyone? Will his silence put his family into the kind of dangerous situation you can’t emerge unscathed from?
What Bale does try to examine, is the question of nature vs nurture when it comes to the propensity to violence. Can trauma, fear or an extreme situation make someone cross boundaries other people wouldn’t or is it simply a question of DNA? Does abuse and violence rewire our brains and teach us coping mechanisms or rather a lack of impulse control?
From a technical standpoint Bale delivers, however the read just didn’t do it for me. I found it slightly disjointed and the characters didn’t evoke any interest. Now that might just be his personal style, a slightly abstract looking inwards from the outside type of style. Personally I would have liked to have seen more emphasis on the girl, her actions and the why. More explanation of the why of the group and their agenda perhaps.
Bale has some interesting ideas, albeit it slightly disturbing ones, and he makes the reader question certain things. He insists that we look beyond the facade of normality and our presumptions.