Sunday, January 29, 2012

Draw the Dark - Ilsa J. Bick

Summary:  The things I draw.  They tend to die.

There are things the people of Winter, Wisconsin, would rather forget.  The year the Nazis came town, for one.  That fire, for another.  But what they'd really like to forget is Christian Cage.

Seventeen-year-old Christian's parents disappeared when he was a little boy.  Ever since, he's drawn obsessively: his mother's face...her eyes...and what he calls "the sideways place," where he says his parents are trapped.  Christian figures if he can just see through his mother's eyes, maybe he can get there somehow and save them.

But Christian also draws other things.  Ugly things.  Evil things.  Dark things.  Things like other people's fears and nightmares.  Their pasts.  Their destiny. 

There's one more thing the people of Winter would like to forget: murder.

But Winter won't be able to forget the truth, no matter how hard it tries.  Not as long as Christian draws the dark... (Summary from book - Image from www.listal.com - Book given free for an honest review from www.netgalley.com )

My Review:  Draw the Dark tells the dark, intense, and deliciously creepy tale of Christian Cage, a young artist harrowed by the loss of his parents and plagued by nightmares and hallucinations that seem to have waking consequences.  When Christian is accused of an act of vandalism that occurred while he was sleeping, all other evidence points to his guilt, and he is sentenced to community service at a local nursing home.   But death and trouble always seem to follow Christian, and the people of Winter are understandably suspicious, especially given his murky past.   As time goes by, his dreams bleed into reality and Christian uncovers a psychological connection to the past, to a young boy, and to a murder that happened well before he was born.

Normally, I’m not a fan of the mystery/thriller genre.  My aversion to them probably has something to do with the reason I stopped watching CSI – I just don’t need know any more creative ways to kill someone.  However, once I got a chance to actually sit down and devote some time to this chilling psychological thriller, I was hooked by the nature of Christian’s mysterious abilities (which are difficult to explain, but very intriguing), the history of the town, and a the whodunit of a sinister murder. 

While I was intrigued by the premise of this book, absorbed by the mystery, and I’m glad I gave it a chance, the ending (approx. the last fifth of the book) didn’t live up to my expectations. Frankly, I was decidedly underwhelmed by the big reveal at the end, which got a little weird and somewhat confusing. It was also more graphic than I expected, in both language and violence, and reminded me why I don’t normally read this genre.

For the sensitive reader:  Pervasive profanity, some crass language, graphic violence, and one sexual situation (seen briefly in a dream).  One character has a particular affection for the F-word, and a variety of others are batted around with alarming frequency.    

My Rating: 3.25 Stars
 
Sum it up:  A dark, intriguing, intense (and GRAPHIC) thriller.

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