Through A Glass, Darkly by Bill Hussey

Synopsis from Amazon:

The Demons have woken, the Dreaming has begun…
When a young man goes missing from the Fen village of Crow Haven, Inspector Jack Trent is sent to investigate. He finds an isolated, insular community which harbours a shocking secret. A secret he has already glimpsed in his dreams. Now, in a race against time, Jack must piece together the mystery surrounding Dr Elijah Mendicant and the ancient Darkness of Crow Haven. He must save the life of an innocent child and stop an ageless evil from rising once more.
But doubt remains. Can Jack overcome the demons from his past? And what will he make of the Doctor’s final, devastating revelation?
The Doctor will see you now…

This novels features an immense depth of fictional history, that of persons and places and evil. Even for 440 pages, this novel condenses several life stories and then some – but it never loses coherency. As much as you’ll want to devour it, it’s carefully thought out and designed to be ingested slowly; mulled over in order to fully appreciate it’s multi-layered content. It features a little bit of everything – emotional intelligence, the everyday trials of parenthood and relationships, the working tribulations of a day on the police force; all alongside an exploration of more philosphical concepts. Personal demons – both physical and figurative, human fear, and strength and weakness all beg contemplation in this well-rounded novel which transcends it’s categorization as mere ‘horror’.

Complemented by an artist’s hand, the characters are the backbone of this story. Good and evil (and where does one draw the line?) alike, they’re credibly complex. Even the secondary characters have careful attention paid to them – though not necessarily integral to the plot, or even frequently encountered, they each have their own likeable (or unlikeable) personalities – particularly Jarski. Jack’s boss allows some laugh out loud moments, as well as retaining a level of reality amidst the un-reality of supernatural. The demon-plauged anti-hero himself, Jack Trent, is a character worthy of his own series of novels, just to discover how these all-too-real demons have determined the intricacies of his less than normal existence. By the heart-wrenching, soul-satisfying twists at the end of the novel, it will take you by surprise just how emotionally attached this character you’ve become.

All in all, it’s a very visual book, surprisingly graphic in parts and disturbingly dark in others – Hussey’s being hailed as the new Clive Barker is greatly justified. It journeys right to the edge of all things grotesque and psychologically horrifying – and then goes just a little further. It is not for the faint of heart, but it’s also not gratuitously explicit – it’s substantiated by a rich story, a subtle address of complex characters and an artistic grasp on the language that’ll make you cringe and wince as it unfolds. At times it’s a heavy read, but it’s highly original in it’s exploration of the truly terrifying, and a most rewarding read. All in all this isn’t just another cliched scary story, it’s an absolutely stunning introduction to the newest master of horror.

10/10

Publisher: Beautiful Books

R.R.P: £7.99

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