Ray Tonks has the power to see disasters as they happen. But he cannot do anything to stop them. Then comes the worst vision yet. Ray sees terrible future images, that defy logic, ghastly twisted shapes of depravity and torture. Now Ray must fathom if this latest vision is his first real chance to avert a dark and hideous catastrophe or a sign that his fragile mind has finally given in to madness.
Murder can change your mind.
***I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***
A childhood accident which saw Ray Tonks header a rock in a moment of madness playing football, has left him suffering from pre-cognition, getting visions of impending disasters that he is helpless to stop. Fearful of being made out to be mad if he shares his secret, Ray suffers in silence as he is plagued with guilt over being unable to stop deadly earthquakes and terrorist attacks, unable to tell his wife and friends. Now his visions have become more sinister with mutilations and cruxifictions by demon like creatures with stitched skin and he is truly scared about what is coming and what his visions mean. Can he do anything to stop this before his mind gives out? And is this connected to a series of brutal murders in the papers with missing body parts?
His wife Denise is distracted, trying to cover up the end of her guilty affair with a man who is not yet ready to let go and wants to continue seeing her at all costs. Ray's friend and colleague Eloise is still trying to get over the death of her adoptive parents who brought stability to her once chaotic upbringing, and working hard is all she can do to deal with it. Her colleague Mike is trying to hide his true feelings for her and has a guilty secret about a secret hobby that others might not understand, as he continues to struggle with the effects of childhood bullying. And then there is Brendan the creepy janitor who is always lurking there, watching and waiting for his chance to get closer to Eloise...
I first read this as a shorter story a good few years back and very much enjoyed it and I was so pleased to see it being made into a longer story. I can certainly say that this version was also really enjoyable to read and it really works great in this longer format. The author has a great knack for getting the story going and investing the reader in the characters, regardless of the story length, and this is what keeps the reader wanting to find out what is happening next. It is not full on gory action horror, more to the psychological side with gory visions but it never gets dull or boring. It kept me interested throughout, and the story gets more gripping as it progresses.
A lot of that is down to the characters. I really felt bad for Ray, having these dreadful and painful visions of death and disaster that he can't talk about, followed by the guilt of all the deaths, nightmares and blackouts which have him questioning his own sanity. The strain of keeping it together at work and at home is starting to get to him and he just can't talk to anyone about it. The strain between him and Denise is also showing but she has her own problems trying to end her affair with Peter and deal with her guilt about it. Dealing with her husband and his problems is not really top of her priority list.
I liked Eloise, who has turned her difficult early life around to have a successful career, but sometimes struggles with her own demons when times get tough. Mike was a great character, the quiet little boy who was bullied relentlessly at school and still suffers from a confidence crisis, hiding behind an image of a foul mouthed idiot. They are aware that something isn't right with Ray but have problems of their own to deal with. Brendan is a seriously creepy man who enjoyed a voyeur life with his wife. However with Judith's death, he is now very much alone and feeling the need for a different kind of adventure with leads to his fixation with Eloise. Going from voyeur to participant is a bold move but Brendan is getting ready to embrace that change.
The story switches between what is happening with Ray, Denise, Eloise, Mike and creepy Brendan who has become fixated with Eloise. I liked the way the author did this, as the reader gets the chance to see what each character was feeling and doing. It certainly aids the character development through the story. This keeps the story moving forward nicely and I felt that I was just anticipating how all of these sub plots were going to join up with what was happening to Ray. Without spoiling anything for those planning to read the book, I found the ending not just satisfying, but quite unexpected, in a good way. It says a lot about the writing skills of an author when you don't see things coming, especially in a horror book.
If you like a character driven psychological horror/thriller, then I recommend this one. The book is due for release in October 2018.
Read July 2018.