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Diary of a Predator: A Memoir
Diary of a Predator: A Memoir by Amy Herdy
by Amy Herdy

Disturbing and unforgettable

Finally captured by law officials in 2005, serial rapist Brent Brents left a long chain of victims --- male and female, adult and child.   Pleading guilty to eighty charges, Brents received a sentence of 1,509 years, the longest sentence in Colorado history.  Brent Brents granted Denver Post journalist Amy Herdy an exclusive interview.  Though his letters and interviews, readers hear his story through his own words.  What made Brent Brents the predator he became?   Can a man who committed such monstrous acts ever see others as something else than someone to manipulate and dominate?  Is there an ounce of humanity left in a man who himself was victimized?  IN DIARY OF A PREDATOR: A MEMOIR, Amy Herdy asks these questions and more.

After an award-winning investigative series
for the Denver Post, "Betrayal in the Ranks," a series about sexual assault in the military, news journalist Amy Herdy turns her vision in a new direction.  Instead of investigating crime from the point of the view of the victims, she writes from the perspective of the perpetrator.  In addition, the choice of the genre of the memoir rather than news story expands the author's vision from a detached more objective style of writing to one that allows for more personal insights and involvement.  DIARY OF A PREDATOR: A MEMOIR is as much about Amy Herdy's journey as it is a story about Brent Brents and his sexual crimes.  For this reason, readers should approach this book not as just a true crime story, but a book that makes use of different genres and writing styles to approach a closer examination of the perpetrator and the effects that his story has upon the journalist.  While investigating the crimes, the author's relationship to writing itself changes as she comes to see more closely the nature of journalism today.  Indeed, DIARY OF A PREDATOR: A MEMOIR challenges the predatory nature of news.  Brent Brents speaks in his own words through letters.  Amy Herdy chooses to respect the subject rather than looking for the next sensational headline.  Because of her integrity, readers catch a closer glimpse of Brent Brents. 

Make no doubt about it: DIARY OF A PREDATOR: A MEMOIR is a difficult book to read not because of the writing but because of the nature of the crimes.  Amy Herdy does not gloss over the disturbing, horrifying reality of the crimes Brent Brents committed.  Readers should be prepared.  At the same time, Amy Herdy ventures into territory that might make other readers just as uncomfortable.  Amy Herdy goes beyond the stereotype of the monster.  Even the closeness of the author to the story, a perspective antithetical to journalism, disquiets a reader.  Is he manipulating her too?  Is she too close to the story?  In the end, this reader feels that the author's ability not to distance herself gave this story its daring force and ability to engage readers on a deeper level.  As the story develops, the reader journeys alongside the author towards a place of hope.  This is a qualified hope, one that does not dismiss the crimes but is there nevertheless. 
DIARY OF A PREDATOR: A MEMOIR is both disturbing and unforgettable.  Weeks after finishing this book, it is as powerful as it was after finishing the final page.  DIARY OF A PREDATOR: A MEMOIR and the story of Brent Brents challenge readers to face themselves and their core conflicts between the uneasy and often conflicting values of crime and humanity, justice and redemption.  However small might be the glimmer of hope, this hope challenges a reader all the more because the crimes are not excused, the man not glorified.  Brilliant!

Publisher: Vincent Publishing House (January 16, 2011)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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