Book Review: THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY
TITLE: THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY
AUTHOR: BILL HUSSEY
PUBLISHER: BLOODY BOOKS
FIRST PUBLISHED: 2008
Jack Trent, the most effective CID officer in the history of the department, is having bad dreams. He has seen the murder of a child in a forest at the hands of something indescribable. But these are more than dreams. They are visions of the future that Jack has tried for years to suppress. Something happened to Jack in his childhood; something that means he cannot touch another living person; something that killed his mother, and that has returned to inspire his visions.
In a final race against time, events reach a dramatic climax as Jack attempts to save a boy’s life in the clearing of Redgrave Forest. Can he face the long-dead Dr Mendicant and the ancient Darkness of Crow Haven? Can he face the evil living inside himself? And what will he make of the Doctor’s final, devastating revelation?
Author Info: Bill Hussey has been quoted as being the new voice of horror. He has a masters degree in creative writing from Sheffield Hallam University. Bill has two novels to date his debut Through a Glass, Darkly and the soon to be released The Absence.
It is said on Bill Hussey's website that this book was inspired by a lifetime devoted to the horror story, and that certainly shows through. There are lots of staples of the classic horror stories from the 80's and early 90's. Whilst reading I was constantly reminded of movies like "Nightmare On Elm Street" "Friday The 13th" and "Hellraiser". I am not stating that this book is not original or that the plot is similar to any of the those movies, there are just some noticeable elements that scream classic horror. Examples being the child murdering supernatural villain, a haunted forest and possession. Also much like in the Freddy movies there are many dream sequences that you are never sure are real or not.
The villian in the book is Dr Mendicate also known as the Crowman. Mendicate is a one of the most frightening villains I have encountered in any movie or book in a long time.
Bill does an excellent job in depicting a scary image of the Mendicate without revealing to much. There is a mystery and darkness around him throughout much like Dr Hannabal Lecter in "The Silence Of The Lambs" you never really know what he is capable of and dread finding out. The Crowmans appearances in the book were easily my favorite segments.
The story is set in Crow Haven in the Fen villages of Licolnshire England. To anyone not aware the Fens are remote and lonely countrysides and are deemed quite creepy with there many dark forests and woods. They play a big part in the plot and I think they are what makes the book so dark and disturbing. Simply because its not to hard to imagine such horrific events taking place in these isolated areas.
Through a Glass, Darkly is not a simple cat and mouse tale of heroin and villian. There are many other elements, Jack Trent struggles with a tragic past, Father Asher Brody recalls his accounts with the evil of Crow Haven, and there is also a touch of romance between Jack and hes colleague Dawn Howard. All of these factors are well written and add up to a deep thoughtful piece of work.
Maybe there are a little to many cliches of the horror genre but not enough to make it feel repetitive (and not nearly as many as most mainstream horror movies of late).
Another minor grumble I personally prefer fast paced novels throughout the majority Through a Glass darkly has a slow and steady pace. Although the slow pace certainly allows characters and events to crawl under your skin there didn't seem to be many adrenaline pumping sequences. Is that a bad thing? well that all depends on your own preferences.
All in all Through a Glass, Darkly is a frightening and disturbing debut novel from a very promising author. It paints characters and images that stick with you long after you have finished reading. And although quite slow paced you are never even close to boredom. I not only recommend but urge you to purchase this book.
The doctor will see you now. . . . .
By Joe Gray