Published by Chapbook Press on July 1st 2010
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In 1917, the state's second largest psychiatric hospital opened on six hundred wooded acres overlooking a small lake near Bedlam Falls, Michigan. Through its doors came the weak and the weary, the disabled and the discarded, the frail and the forgotten. But an open door is an invitation, and some visitors, once invited, are loath to leave. The hospital abruptly closed in 1958 under a cloud of mystery. It has remained empty and silent, save for the memories trapped both within its walls and far below the surface of the nearby lake that bears its name. At the bottom of Asylum Lake, the unremembered are growing restless. Brady Tanner is trying to outrun memories of his own. After the sudden death of his wife, Brady retreats to the small town where he spent the summers of his youth. But he soon learns small towns can be stained by memories... and secrets, too. As Brady is drawn into unearthing these secrets, as he discovers a new love in an old friend, he is also drawn into the mystery of Asylum Lake and the evil that lies submerged beneath its sparkling surface. What is the source of this evil - and what does it want with Brady Tanner?
I don’t usually read horror novels. Why? Because any book that makes me sick to my stomach I don’t consider entertainment. This is just a personal preference and I realize I’m in the minority here. That being said though, there are some good ones out there, maybe I just shouldn’t be reviewing them. Still, I know a good book when I read one, even if I cringe through the whole thing. And this is a good book.
The plot of Asylum Lake is just fantastic. It twists and it turns and you think you know where the book is going to go, but then the author throws you for a loop and something totally unexpected happens. There’s so much creativity here. I wonder often how authors do this. I can’t even imagine coming up with fantastic ideas like the ones found in this novel.
It’s a pretty quick read. But it’s one hell of a ride. You find yourself finding sympathy for characters that you know you shouldn’t. My husband would totally love this book, because it’s twisted and he loves that kind of stuff. It’s very Chuck Palahniuklike. More like the paranormal version though.
There are some pretty gory moments found in these pages.If you can’t handle that, don’t read. And the human imagination can definitely make it worse. Lots of blood and guts. And aside from that, it gets really creepy at times.
What can I say though? The book is beautifully written. R.A. Evans writes like he’s been doing it forever. Maybe he has. Who knows? There is a sequel to this book coming out and I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to read it yet or not. But I probably will, because even though the story wrapped up nicely, there are still a LOT of unanswered questions. And I sort of want to know the answers.
If I have one criticism of the book it’s that it seemed to take awhile for the story to get going. And then there was the fact that as a reader, you knew the asylum was across the lake the whole time, but it was hardly in the story until the very end. I think asylums are pretty much the creepiest places on earth and I was really hoping to find more of it here. The cover has an asylum on it, asylum is in the title, yet it was lacking in that department. It might sound stupid to you, but it makes sense to me. I can only hope that the next novel follows more of a storyline having to do with the asylum itself. A lot happened there. I am looking forward to reading the next title in the series. Well done R.A Evans.