An abstract tale swirling around possession, romance, and a mystery written in a gorgeous poetic prose. This novel is captivating with a strong vein of supernatural and strange.
We follow Richard who has confused memories about his friend Melanie and is haunted by a dark spirit that has attached to him. The descriptions of the dark spirit interfering with his everyday life, of it closing in on him while he was in bed, and the description of it taking away his autonomy was absolutely chilling. Full disclosure, as someone who grew up in a haunted house, this was a hard book for me at first. I found it very unsettling which I rarely find in ghost novels like this. I loved it.
Slowly we learn more about Melanie, the strange situation around her childhood, the bizarre spirit that has invaded their lives, and the dark secret they must uncover. Overall this story flips around quickly, leaves you down many wrong turns and dead ends, and has you trying to guess what will happen next. It is an absolutely incredible reading experience.
Once again Peter Salomon knocks it out of the park!
After reading his fantastic novella, Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds, I was eager to hop into more of Peter Salomon’s work! Fortunately he’s got a few other books that he’s written, and this book, Henry Franks, was his first!
Henry Franks is a novel about a teenage boy with scars that are always itching and a terrible case of amnesia. He doesn’t remember anything that happened before the accident, and he suffers from not recognizing his own name or his own father. As Henry slowly unfurls out of his shell around his talkative neighbor, Justine, the newspapers are full of murder reports happening all across the quiet island of St. Simons island.
So first off, having grown up in Georgia myself, I love that this happens in a known Georgia location during specific years and during a very specific weather pattern. I think it’s incredible the amount of work and research it takes to create a world within that space, but Peter does a splendid job with it.
Another piece I want to include, and perhaps the part that made this book glow for me, is the clear knowledge of cognitive science and the effects of head trauma. People forgetting who relatives are and sometimes, more importantly, not having the same feelings of warmth as they used to are known side effects of that trauma. Read up on Capgras syndrome for more information on this very real phenomena.
What makes life worse for Henry is that his father seems untrustworthy. And you’re not sure if it is a case of head trauma or if he really is acting suspiciously. So you’re not sure if Henry’s lack of emotion for his father is truly from head trauma and amnesia, or if his father isn’t who he says he is.
Anyway, you get the idea of how tangled this story is and how much fun it is to unravel the mystery! I honestly love that about Peter’s books. The ending absolutely threw me for a loop too!
I am looking forward to getting to read more of Peter’s work!
What I consider a 5-star book:
Is it a fun read? I turned each page with growing concern, eager to unravel the mystery at hand, so yes, definitely a fun read!
Would you recommend it to others? Absolutely! I loved the twists and turns this book took, and the horrific encounters they had.
Does it stick with you? Definitely! It’s a storyline that you’ll find creeping into your mind again and again.