You know it’s almost Halloween, and after reading a few scary Indie books last week, I wanted to conclude Halloween with another horror book.
This one is a recent release, and I had honestly never heard of the book or author before stumbling upon it on my library website. However, let me just say it was a pleasant surprise, despite some minor imperfections.
Release: July 2020
Page Count: 224
Synopsis: Parker H. is a young, intelligent psychologist who enters a mental facility. He soon learns of a mysterious patient who has lived there since the 70s, since the patient was only six years old. But as Parker learns more, horror seeps into sanity until he begins questioning what exactly is the truth. This book is told in a series of online posts by Parker H.
For the most part this is a really exceptional book! I’ve read so many horror books that I feel like I’m desensitized to them, but this one really creeped me out. It plays on fear of the unknown, never knowing who to trust or what the truth is. Parker is a sympathetic and relatable character, but it is Joe, the patient, who truly shines in this book. Saying that, I honestly wasn’t too fond of the format of the fictionalized online posts. It felt pointless, and didn’t really add anything to the story itself. In fact, it felt like an afterthought.
There is a very condensed set of characters. Parker is obviously the protagonist, and I quite liked him. There is his girlfriend, and a couple doctors and workers at the mental institution he works at. And of course there is Joe, the boy now man who is integral to the plot. But besides that there aren’t any characters.
The plot is pretty straightforward. Parker gets a job at the institution and hears some mysterious stories of this patient. He finds the file, and reads it to find that many of the doctors who worked to try to cure Joe committed suicide or went insane. So Parker asks to become Joe’s doctor and try to cure him himself. I feel like if I say anything further, it will definitely be a spoiler, but let’s just say Joe is very different than rumors indicate.
I’m really having trouble talking about this book without spoilers, because like 90% of what we learn is a spoiler in the book. So I’m going to do a quick spoiler section while still trying to not give away all the twists in the book.
There are several ways this book could have gone with the character of Joe. The book could go a realistic route, or a supernatural one. Joe’s a brilliant psychopath who plays on people’s emotions and even convinces Parker to help him escape. At that point in the book, I was assuming the book was taking a realistic approach to psychosis.
Massive spoilers for the next paragraph! However, then the monster entered the story. Without getting too into details, the reason Joe was first sent to the asylum was to stop seeing this “monster” in his room who had him screaming at night. Turns out, the monster killed the real Joe before he was permanently put in the institute. The monster feeds on the fear of his doctors to keep him alive. Parker finally finds out, and the monster escapes into the night, never to be seen again.
As I said earlier, there were two main ways this plot would go, and it choose the supernatural route. I liked this, while usually I would prefer realism over fanciful elements.
I ended up giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed it and it was perfect to read just a few days before Halloween. It’s also surprisingly short. On audiobook it was only 4 hours (and since I listen to audiobooks at double speed, that’s actually only 2 hours).
Does this book look interesting to you? Do you prefer realism or the supernatural in scary books? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,
Best wishes in your life full of adventure,