Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Berkley (July 2005)
Adelaine Pek’s ratings: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / 5 hearts
He was clinically dead after the accident — but was miraculously revived. Now Hatch Harrison and his wife approach each day with a new appreciation for life. But something has come back with Hatch from the other side. A terrible presence that links his mind to a psychotic’s, so that a force of murderous rage courses through him.
Initially published in January 1992, the year I was born, this book’s only flaw was the pacing. Let me clarify that the only reason it lacked the one heart to make it a fully complete five stars is this: I have a problem with the pacing.
Maybe it is the style of the author to write books with this kind of pacing to build the momentum (I have no idea as this is the first time I am reading this author’s work) and it is completely an individual preference thing, but I struggled all the way until 80% of the book where finally things start to kick off in fast, rapid motion. My interest remained intact throughout the whole book and I had no qualms about reading it all the way to the end; I just felt that this book could have moved at a quicker pace. But to clarify, I do see the author’s point of going about the story in this specific pace. It built the momentum perfectly and by the time I reached the exciting parts, my heart was already beating like a hummingbird’s wings and I cannot sit still with the excitement coursing through my veins. It was really suspenseful at the end, but I wished it had started slightly earlier.
Oh and I need to point out how rather misleading the description was. From the description, I was expecting the main character, Hatch Harrison to come back from the dead with a thirst for violence and his mental link to a psycho is the driving force for him to commit things the society deemed unlawful. But when I begin reading it, I was surprised to find out that the story turned out rather different from the description.
Turns out that the revival was nothing magical/otherworldly but was only made possible with our advanced technology. Turns out it was not Hatch that will go on a bloodthirsty killing spree, but someone else is the murderer. Turns out this book is rather spiritual but not in a religious kind of way. Turns out the ending was nothing I predicted. I think it was a rather pleasant surprise that everything turned out the way it was.
The characters in this book are very well developed. Hatch is worried about turning out to be like his father, a man with a violent temper, and does his best to be the perfect man and husband to his beloved wife, Lindsey. Lindsey is more strong-willed but is very capable of rolling with the flow. The daughter they adopted from the orphanage, Regina, is funny and the voice the author gave to her is exactly how a ten-year-old would sound like. The serial killer, Vassago — name of the third prince in the circle of Hell — fascinates me. He believes that he died and went to Hell and can only return once he has completed his ‘collection’, which is, of course, a collection of dead bodies.
The book is written in third-person point of view (POV) and while I am usually not a fan of shifting POVs, the author executed it very well and I had no problems at all jumping between the serial killer’s POV to the main character’s POV to the little girl Rachel’s POV. I loved how when we are in Hatch or Lindsey’s mind, everything is linked to the living, to reflect the image of their determination to continue on living after their near-death experience, and when we are in the mind of Vassago, everything is linked to violence and death, to reflect his obsession with the afterlife. I liked how each of the characters’ voices are so distinct. It is really enjoyable to be able to glimpse into each of the character’s mind and see the events unfold from their perspective.
I was not aware that there is a film adaptation (or was the book adapted from the movie?) but needless to say, I will certainly be trying out the movie soon. I cannot wait to see how Vassago will be like on screen. The atmosphere is not as dark as some of the books I have been reading lately, but it is thrilling enough to keep my palms sweating. The deaths executed by the antagonist is satisfyingly gruesome.
If you are a fan of serial killer plots, a thriller-chaser, or a supernatural addict, I highly recommend this one. Trust me when I say this book is definitely worth your time.