2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 260 books.
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Book Review: Forsaken by Andrew van Wey

Happy Book Review Tuesday! Today we are taking a seriously creepy journey into a rather twisty world full of brothers, secrets, darkness, and the evil that lies in the hearts of men… (How’s THAT for an opening?) My review copy was kindly provided by the author, Andrew van Wey. Oh – and take the time to check out the link on Amazon… You are in for a treat if you do – for 48 delightful hours, starting today, you can get your very own copy for free!! Thanks so much Drew!

Forsaken opens with hide-and-seek and a practical joke gone rather horridly awry – yet another example of why I hate practical jokes, although I’m quite pleased to report nothing like this has EVER happened to me or anyone I know, eek! – and the story doesn’t get any lighter as it progresses. It is primarily the tale of Dan Rineheart – well, of Dan and a painting, a mysterious picture that appears, unsigned and anonymously delivered, at the university where he teaches art restoration. Well, unsigned and anonymously delivered but for one line: “Here in Art, Denial.”

The story is full of more evil than a barrel full of Stephen King’s monkeys. And not all of the evil comes from the sources you suspect… This is a genuinely creepy story about obsession and misdirection, populated by paintings that are not what they seem, people who are not what they seem, and children who are decidedly NOT childlike (at least not the sweet, innocent, happy kind of childlike that we’d all like to think children are like).

What is it, by the way, about creepy children?? For some reason I find creepy children in books/movies WAY scarier than creepy adults. I don’t know if it’s because we all assume (like to think? Need to think? Hmm…) that children are fundamentally good and well-intentioned and, well, sweet and innocent and happy, such that when we are confronted with the fact that some are not we get thrown way far off-kilter. Or maybe it’s just that the people who write/devise creepy children are somehow better at generating creepy images than those who don’t.

Regardless, nothing freaks me out like a creepy kid story. And this is one of the freakiest I’ve experienced in recent years.

As Dan tries to figure out the meaning (and origins) of the painting, his world begins to take decidedly unusual turns. His family is unwittingly sucked into the maelstrom as his obsession with the painting grows, and the tension that follows is thick enough to require a chainsaw to cut through.

There are innocent victims, lots of emotional fallout, and more than a few dramatically unstable elements that threatening the underlying integrity of everything Dan knows (or thinks he knows). In short, the story is a whiz-bang ride on the back of a tornado, full of more random spins and twists than many a person’s stomach will be able to handle. I don’t advise reading it at night when you’re alone in the dark – or, if you’re like me, even at night when you’re not alone in the dark. This was a helluva creepy ride – but definitely worth the chills – and the attendant paranoia about every painting in the house. 😉

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