Written by: Wesley Thomas
Immediately this novel captures your focus and provokes your inner inquisitive nature.
You are first introduced to an abnormal character who spends the majority of his time in a cemetery, Elias Hatcher, and just as his personality is intricately depicted, we are flown to the exotic and cultural Italy. Two mysterious men grab the reader with a hook and instantly pull them into an intriguing situation. Then tragedy strikes in Concord, Massachusetts, when the Brooke family discover their child, Henry, is missing, which catapults the story into a hectic police investigation, exploring every possible angle, interviewing several suspects and uncovering hidden truths.
It is an intelligently written book that keeps you alert to facts and names you suspect may be later referred to, or be a valuable clue in this mind-boggling puzzle.
I adored the distinguishing character features in this novel, especially the more eccentric characters that are instantly recognised by a hairstyle or type of clothing, or physical affliction. Although Elias is initially presented as the antagonist we often get the sense that he is simply misunderstood and just very odd. Also, with history of his family and their acquaintances being unveiled regularly, all arrows begin to point to a strange supernatural explanation to the child’s disappearance, that Elias is aware of, but not responsible for.
The parents’ frustration is truly felt at their everlasting struggle of constant false leads to their boy’s whereabouts; the characters appear so real in their ruthless determination at finding their son at any cost. Each time a clue is found you feel yourself becoming excited that this may be the one clue they needed to locate Henry. A few moments also show the emotional impact that a missing child has on the entire family, with dramatic arguments, as well as irrational and often extremely dangerous behaviour.
The insertion of poetry maintains a classical tone to the book, some parts were vaguely reminiscent to ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens, specifically the cemetery scenes. Furthermore the biblical flashbacks provide the reader with a religious insight and perspective to the current disaster. Some of which can be perceived as metaphorical comparisons to current events and also insinuating future events. The biblical feel of the book was not unlike ‘The Davinci Code’, with the historical tales of a saint and how her travels and discoveries relate to the case of the missing child and all the enigma that surrounds it.
This book is an inventive combination of crime, drama, horror and religion. It was incredibly informative and you not only receive a sense of pleasure from reading the book, you feel more educated in the world of religions. It is riveting, and becomes an excellent game of whodunnit with unusual characters and creepy revelations weaved into the story.
The exploration of another world further than our own, a spiritual world, which has a set of rules contrasting greatly from reality, adds another dimension to this magnificent read.
The climax to this book is superbly satisfying, it not only ties all the current knots in the plot, but the importance of the flashbacks and insertions of poetry are revealed. However there are some mysteries that remain open to interpretation, as they have not been technically answered, but the use of poetry analogies leaves very strong suggestions. Needless to say that this novel will leave a lasting imprint in your mind and open your eyes to a whole new world of fictional possibilities.