The Bottom Line: “But I'm held hostage in a dream Held hostage in a sleep Following a shadow of a shadow Held hostage in a dream” ~Way Out West
Tango-Oscar-Yankee-Echo-Romeo, this is how the police referred to him.
The substance you scrape from a colon during an autopsy, this is how Dr. Maude Garance referred to him.
Who is Toyer? What is Toyer? He’s everything you fear and everything you dream of. He’s charmastic and exciting, he’s deadly and lethal. He’s someone to avoid, yet women seek him out. He is every parents worst nightmare and the nemesis of the police. A serial killer that doesn’t kill, choosing random victims with no apparent reason.
He is someone that is shaping Sara Smith’s career, as reporter on the Herald and someone that is haunting Dr. Garance’s life, as she looks after his victims.
He is the person that has changed Nina, Virginia, Melissa, Felicity, Lydia, Gwyneth, Paula, Louise, Karen and Carol into vegetables being cared for by those that love them. As he states, he doesn’t kill, he simply discards. If captured, he is facing 8 years in prison, the same sentence you would receive for stealing a car. Yet he has stolen so much more.
Vibrant lives, happy lives. Futures and pasts are now sealed away in comatose patients being fed through tubes.
Author Gardner McKay slips Toyer into our lives and allows us to slip into his. This is McKay’s first novel, and a darn good one. Even though the identity of Toyer is divulged half way through the book, you are still driven to finish reading to discover how, or if, he will be captured. You want to find out why he does what he does and how he does it. Fortunately, all questions are answered, you aren’t left hanging, facing a huge ‘what if’.
The main characters in the book are nicely fleshed out, physically and mentally. Sara Smith, the fledgling reporter becomes Toyer’s voice to the public. At first you view Sara as someone just going after a story, trying to make a name for herself. Soon you watch her evolve and question her own tactics and ethics.
Through Sara you are shown a different side of Dr. Garance, the head Physiatrist at Kipness Memorial Neurological Center. A softer side, a caring side. One with doubts and fears, and one with ideas that scream to be released. With Dr. Garance, you find Dr. T, Elias Tredescent, her boss at the institute. Dr. T. has always loved Dr. Garance, will this love ever be realized?
Along with Sara, you meet her estranged cousin Telen and her sidekicks Peter and Billy. Known as The Uncastables, the trio are in an acting group together. All three are hiding little secrets that become revealed, strange stories that can’t be believed.
And there is Elaine. Poor sad Elaine, sitting in her wheelchair, mindless and unfeeling. Almost 20 years old, she has festered in this chair for over two years. Since her wedding night actually, when she and her husband, virgins that were saving themselves for that special night, meet up with three rapists that change their lives forever.
And created Toyer.
A man that toys with his victims, with the press, with the law - hence his name. He doesn’t rape, his women come willingly to him. He doesn’t kill, simply performs a spinal cordotomy, rendering them helpless - forever.
At 453 pages this book is suspensefully written, keeping you completely involved throughout the story.