Epeolatry Book Review: Crime Scene poetry by Cynthia Pelayo


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Title: Crime Scene
Author: Cynthia Pelayo
Publisher:  Raw Dog Screaming Press
Genre: Poetry, Crime, Thriller, 
Release Date: 13th October, 2022

Synopsis: Cynthia Pelayo sings a song for the least of us, the victim we want to forget as soon as possible, the one who disappeared before ever really appearing. With a fairy tale gaze and a heart bigger than the world, her siren song insinuates itself past our defenses, past the hardened calluses and apathy we’ve erected to protect ourselves from the everyday horror of another missing girl.

Pelayo relates the familiar story, poem by poem; a body is found, a brutal crime investigated, clues take us in circles, and lead us nowhere. We are on an epic journey, the hero’s journey, and it must play out to the end in all its painful, ticking moments. Pelayo imbues her hero, Agent K, with the entirety of our dedication and that crumb of hope we’ve been hiding, saving for later. We will need to save for years, for decades, if we want to come out the other side. The job takes its toll, the answers are never complete and whys fracture, crack and spread. Still there is no turning away. We must bear witness, though it changes and contorts us.

“Crime Scene,” a riveting collection of poetry by Cynthia Pelayo, delves into the harrowing depths of human nature and the world that surrounds us. The book’s cover and title foreshadow the exploration of crime, violence, and their multifaceted perspectives that lie within its pages.

Within this compelling narrative collection, the poetry is ingeniously structured as a series of police reports chronicling Agent K’s pursuit to solve the enigmatic murder of Jane Doe. Beyond the grisly specifics of the crime scene, readers are confronted with Agent K’s tormented mind as she endeavors to reconstruct the broken fragments of her victims, allowing their restless spirits to find peace. Pelayo’s prose penetrates the depths of the trepidations that plague many investigators: the perpetual uncertainty of the victims’ fates and the lifelong burden of carrying these unresolved cases in their hearts.

Pelayo’s exceptional prowess lies in her ability to conjure up vivid and emotionally charged imagery. Her language is raw and arresting, adeptly capturing the intricacies of crime and its repercussions on victims, perpetrators, and society as a whole. Her stark and unflinching prose evokes a sense of disquiet, immersing readers in the emotions coursing through each poem.

The collection’s richness is further enhanced by the diverse perspectives Pelayo adopts in her poems, ranging from the voices of victims and perpetrators to the societies marred by criminality. This added depth and nuance transform “Crime Scene” into a compelling exploration of crime’s complexities.

A standout aspect of Pelayo’s work is her capacity to breathe new life into familiar themes and situations. Her poetry transcends the mere portrayal of crime, delving into the human experience and our interaction with the world around us.

“Crime Scene” emerges as a chilling, thought-provoking, and impactful anthology that plumbs the depths of humanity’s darker side. While not for the faint of heart, the collection is a must-read for those seeking to navigate the intricate maze of crime and its societal effects.

It is important to note that the themes and style of “Crime Scene” may not resonate with everyone, and some readers may find its content unsettling or distressing. However, the poetry is designed to evoke emotion, spur reflection, and prompt us to question our perceptions of crime, justice, and humanity.

Having read an array of genre poetry over the years, “Crime Scene” marks my first foray into crime poetry. To call it provocative and beautifully written would be an understatement. The book’s narrative form captivated me, and I eagerly anticipate exploring more works in this style.


Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

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