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By Brian on 09-19-10
Thrilling, unnerving, moving dark fantasy
This is an exciting and moving book that is hard to categorise genre-wise: it has elements of horror, thrillers, crime and urban fantasy. The novel revolves around the investigation of murders and abductions, with elements of Lovecraftian horror, psychic detection and moody meditations on identity, futility and responsibility. It is blessed with wonderfully realised characters ? such tough-minded and heavily pregnant Chance, and the terrifying yet sympathetic Narcissa ? as well as relatable themes about dealing with the past and the difficulties of real relationships. The story is by turns unnerving, scary, edge-of-the seat thrilling as well as a poignant tragedy; all with a gritty sense of reality. The reading is excellent and makes the most of the poetic, rhythmic, and occasionally clinical voice of the novel; the reader also does a fine job of differentiating the characters.
Although it involves some characters that appear in other novels and stories by Kiernan, this book is standalone. It is very accessible and works as a straightforward adventure as well as a more meditative work. In the best possible way, it is not a comforting or a comfortable read/listen.
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