By: Jasper DeWitt
Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
When I saw this book on the NetGalley website I was intrigued. Normally I reserve my horror reads for the fall time, when the theme seems to fit the weather. Still, a chance at an advanced reader copy for such an interesting story was something I couldn’t resist so I put the request in and was approved. I waited for a day that I felt ready to jump into the horror genre and here we are, talking about a book that took me on a wild ride and that surprised me.
The book follows Parker H. a young psychiatrist, telling the internet through a messageboard about the dreary mental hospital in New England he works at, and about the curious case of a long-term patient there.
The patient, known simply as Joe, seems incurable. Many doctors have tried and no one has succeeded. What began as a child with night terrors ends with a man in a small room in a psych ward for decades. What’s worse, patients, doctors, nurses and orderlies seem to go insane, some driven to suicide.
Parker, being young, cocky and perhaps incredibly stupid decides he will cure Joe. Well, as we all know in our own day to day lives nothing really works out according to plan. While battling his own personal history and coming face-to-face with a patient that defies all the diagnosis, evaluations and even what some would consider the normal ways of the unvierse, slipping to paranormal territory, Parker is not prepared for this as much as he thinks he is.
And Joe? Joe’s just ready to have some fun with his new doctor.
I admit starting this book felt a little slow. While I was interested I guess I didn’t feel connected to Parker as much as I would have liked but as I went through I found myself cheering for him and hoping against the odds that maybe he would actually succeed in his mission or, at the very least, make it out alive. Joe was a perfectly creepy character and while there were parts that I could see were meant to draw sympathy I really can’t even begin to express the level of disgust and negativity that poured out of me, directed at the character by the end of this book.
To make me so completely despise a character that way is truly a wonder. When I finished the last lines of the book I was, in part, glad it was over because it seemed that things would be okay although there was a hazy cloud of negativity that made me think maybe the horror found in these pages wasn’t really over.
Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jasper DeWitt and NetGalley for the ARC!