The confusion of a head injury threads between scenes of cruel murder in this novel. The protagonist wakes in hospital, half-remembering dreams, half-forgetting life, and switching back and forth between questions—“Who is Josephine? Where am I?”—with a convincingly nauseous fear. But answers are hard to come by. And the cruel world has a surreal and ghoulish taste for torture. Frank is released from hospital having lost six years of his life. It’s an intriguing premise, but soon it seems Frank’s life might be easier with his memories erased. The quest to learn the truth becomes somewhat burdensome and Frank imagines passers-by exclaiming, with undeleted expletives: “This guy doesn’t give a XX about his wife!... Look at this XX!” But then he reminds himself, you can’t care about what you can’t remember. The story’s follows Frank’s scrambled thoughts with appropriately wordy confusion. He runs around the house, trapped in half-remembered evil, while the reader stays trapped in his head. The stream of consciousness approach suits the subject matter well with lots of rambling, tangential questions. Clues build up from bloodstains in the shower and faint foreshadowing of truths which the reader suspects just slightly before the narrator. Meanwhile the mysterious letter-writer accuses Frank of a murder he doesn’t recall. The stilted conversation of an amnesiac with its intense and unapologetic swearing makes the first half of this novel fairly slow reading. But surprising revelations enliven Days of Vengeance’s second half, adding some interesting twists on classic horror and keeping the plot developments humming until the final page. This one’s not for the squeamish or for readers averse to sequels, but it’s certainly adds an interesting twist to the genre. Disclosure: I received a free ecopy from the author in exchange for my honest review.
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