Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Asylum by Amy Cross


Happy Halloween Readers,

This book might not be a stereotypical monster book but it freaked me out and there are bits that honestly make you uncomfortable. I think the main part that is disturbing is that some of the treatments these patients happened not too long ago. Mental hospitals used to take advantage of their patients & do inhumane experiments on them because well, who’s going to believe them? Is it a ghost story? is it science fiction? Or is it something more sinister?

Spoilers

This is a brilliant book I found on Amazon a couple of years ago and reread it at least once a year. Once I got started, I wanted to discover all of Lakehurst's mysteries, and uncover the truth about the evil that lurks there.

As some people have grumbled that this book's point of view jumps around a bit but as long as you read the chapter titles, you'll know whose point of view you're reading personally I didn’t find this an issue I knew who I was at all times. This book lets you know some back-story to the main characters & then lets you see their POV when certain things are happening. Yes, this means there's some repetition to it, but it works for the story. Without giving away any of the twists (and there are numerous twists) I will caution readers that this book is the compilation of eight mini-stories which told together make up a larger storyline.

Lakehurst Psychiatric Hospital is ruled by the controlling Nurse (Kirsten) Winter, who was hired right out of college. A few details about Lakehurst: patients and staff members seem to die frequently; ghosts of varying levels of scariness appear to patients and staff alike. Everyone's path to Lakehurst is troubled, dogged by dark forces. Is Lakehurst the epicentre of evil?
Also, no patient has ever walked out of Lakehurst cured. They are heavily medicated, and if they misbehave, they are taken to the basement for "special treatment,". The story starts with Annie Radford's arrival at Lakehurst Asylum and it's off like a rocket from there. A brief history of Annie who has a younger brother, Taylor that is 7 years old, he disappears for 3 days and then shows back up, their parents are frantic. They move out in the woods with no neighbours, the parents are trying to protect the family. Annie meets a guy named Kieran who is checking the radio signals and camping nearby. One day, Annie takes her seven-year-old brother out in the woods and shoots him right through the forehead. Why? God told her to.

I love the way "Asylum" is structured, but it does mean that readers need to pay attention from the start and to the smallest details if they are not to fall behind and to solve the mystery before the climatic finally. The book starts out with Annie's arrival at Lakehurst and follows her acclimatisation there and we meet the various characters as she does. We then move back in time, seeing how Kirsten Winter was limping through nursing school, trying to rebuild her reputation. There are a lot of characters involved and all of the stories are very well developed and detailed. Some stories are told in flashbacks, while others take place as they occur, but let me say that you will not be bored while reading this book. When I got to the final pages, I could see how the stories start to intertwine and it caused my mind to race to try to pick up the pieces before the last line.

So many things happen across so many years, that "Asylum" could make a horrible mess of plot elements but Amy Cross avoids this nicely. If anything, many of these jumps are justified or explains a characters' behaviour. Amy’s writing style will keep you entranced and you will want to keep reading to see what will happen next. Every time I thought I had something figured out, I soon found out I was completely wrong!


 If you like stories of the macabre, do yourself a favour and indulge in this series. The question remains, is Lakehurst evil because of the people working there or are they evil because Lakehurst is cursed? A must-read for anyone who appreciates horror, thrillers, and even a good ghost story.

Happy Halloween Lx

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