Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Blog Tour: Circe by Jessica Penot

Buy the book: Amazon US ; Amazon UK ; Barnes & Noble

Title: Circe
Author: Jessica Penot
Publisher: Lachesis Publishing
Target Audience: Adult
Genre: (Psychological) thriller
Length: 209 pages

StoryWhen Dr. David Black takes an internship at a very old psychiatric hospital back home in Alabama, he vows two things—that he will be a better husband to his beautiful and loving wife Pria, and that he will stop cheating on her.

Then his enigmatic supervisor Dr. Cassie Allen, a self-proclaimed witch with ties to the underworld, begins to draw him into her darkness. David finds it hard to resist her wicked sensuality, but even harder to resist her evil pull.

As strange and violent deaths pile up left and right, David realizes that Cassie’s psychotic behavior is connected to the mysterious hospital itself. There a demonic force threatens to destroy everything that David holds dear—his wife, his family, even his very sanity.

Thoughts and impressions: First off, in my copy Doctor David Black is called Eric Black. As I received the book as a gift from Amazon, I’m not sure what happened there. It’s not that much of a big deal, but worth pointing out.

This book is one that lies firmly outside of my reading comfort zone. It’s very rare that I’ll read anything even resembling a psychological thriller, though I do enjoy watching movies of the same genre. The whole concept of the haunted asylum drew me to it. Haunted buildings, especially ones where horrors were committed by humans against other humans in the past, is a fascination that I think many people share. I know that I personally am fascinated by such things. So after some initial internal debate over whether I wanted to attach myself to an obligation to read something to far from my comfort zone, I finally caved in and couldn’t resist the temptation.

I got off to a bit of a rocky start with the story. The style at that point is very much tell rather than show (it does become more show later on after the foundations are laid) and the character, Eric, is one who repulsed me. But then, I’m fairly sure that he’s supposed to repulse the reader. At several points throughout the story he is described as being a ‘monster’, and he certainly is! Not in the whole “I go around killing people muahahah” sense, but in the sense that he does not seem to be capable of actually feeling. His thoughts and actions, despicable though many of them are, hold no real meaning for me, and thus entail no real consequences.

As he starts to come undone when things are spiralling out of his control, he takes refuge in the wife to whom he is incapable of being faithful. He keeps telling himself that he’s changed, that he just wants her now… but the reader’s been spoon-fed enough of this same sort of line that they know to be wary of his declarations. It’s just fear pushing him, not real emotional ties. Eventually his status as a monster is completely solidified in a way that I hadn’t been expecting, but one that gives the story, and this C.R.C. (Circe) mental hospital quite the twist!

The asylum was very well portrayed. It was only when Eric started his internship here and we were introduced to the variety of characters who reside there that I was finally able to stop keeping the story at arm’s length. I adored meeting the mentally handicapped individuals and how their various handicaps were manifested. I’m not going to go into any of these, though, as that would spoil the discovery for anyone who does choose to read this story.

The asylum itself wasn’t really so much creepy in the way that I’ve seen other creepy buildings portrayed in literature, but the entity that belongs to the grounds was certainly creepy enough to make up for it. I enjoyed the little titbits into the history of the asylum and would have liked to have had more random facts woven into the story, but I guess that’s what non-fiction books are for.

At the end of the day, even though I really didn’t like the character, I was able to get past this thanks to the compelling tale that is presented. It’s very rare that I can overlook such bad character traits so the author deserves points for that!

Style: As the story is written in the first person, it did occasionally feel like Eric was telling the reader about his story rather than narrating events as they occurred.

Final verdict: Not something that I would usually pick up but something that I’m glad I took the time to read! 4 stars

Extra notes: Both sex and bad language are present.


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