Thursday, November 12, 2015

#Thursday Review - Dead Ringer by Christopher Golden (Adult, Horror)

Format: E-Galley, 320 pages
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: Publisher
Genre: Horror, Fiction

With a deep history that threads back to the days of Alistair Crowley and an ancient house, the spirits of some long dead magicians live on by possessing the lives of others in the present day.

When Tess Devlin runs into her ex-husband Nick on a Boston sidewalk, she's furious at him for pretending he doesn't know her. She calls his cell to have it out with him, only to discover that he's in New Hampshire with his current girlfriend. But if Nick's in New Hampshire...who did she encounter on the street?

Frank Lindbergh's dreams have fallen apart. He wanted to get out of the grim neighborhood where he'd grown up and out of the shadow of his alcoholic father. Now both his parents are dead and he's back in his childhood home, drinking too much himself. As he sets in motion his plans for the future, he's assaulted by an intruder in his living intruder who could be his twin.

In an elegant hotel, Tess will find mystery and terror in her own reflection. Outside a famed mansion on Beacon Hill, people are infected with a diabolical malice...while on the streets, an eyeless man, dressed in rags, searches for a woman who wears Tess's face.

Christopher Golden has a real knack for writing dark, scary, ghost stories that hold your attention right to the very end. I found that out with 2014's Snowblind. With Dead Ringer, Golden has now moved up on my list of authors to turn to when I want to get the crap scared out of me! Dead Ringer is the tale about a group of people who all seem to be having personal issues. They are all connected to an ancient house, and long dead magicians who tried to summon evil into this world. 

There are FIVE main characters in Dead Ringers. The characters are Frank Lindbergh, Lilandra (Lili) Pillai, Tessa Devlin, Nick Devlin, and Audrey Pang. All of them find out that the old adage of having a double in the world, is actually true when each of them face with a much leaner, stronger, more confident versions of themselves. Each character faces their mortality in ways that will blow readers minds away, not unlike Snowblind

As the synopsis does an excellent job of laying out Tessa and Frank's challenges, I will skim over the important parts to keep from making this review repetitious. Just think for a moment. You are in your home, which is supposed to be your sanctuary, when you hear someone calling out to you. You wake up chained in your own basement naked, with a man who looks exactly like you. That man has taken over your life, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

You are walking the streets of Boston when you look up and see your ex-husband Nick strolling along. You approach him, and he acts as though you are a total stalker. You soon learn that your best friend has been told that she also has a doppelganger who has made a name for herself as an artist. The strangest part is that everyone that Tess knows apparently has a doppelganger, including a former colleague of hers Aaron Blaustein. 

You really can feel the menace of the villains, including the Raggedy Man, and the feeling of helplessness of each of the characters when they face their own twin who is much more interested in making a life of their own, than being anything like the original. I got the creepy vibes every time one of the doppelgangers started leeching energy from the originals. The good thing about this story is that when the FIVE characters are working together, they become a force to be reckoned with. They are painted into a corner, and come out fighting with everything they have.

Dare I say the ending cut me to the quick? Golden did this to me in Snowblind as well. I can't even go to the point of spoiling this book. There's no way to get through this story without feeling a bit of sorrow, anger, hope, hopelessness, and a bit of finality when it all comes to an end. I love that the so called heroes aren't really heroes. They have to face pure evil, and band together in order to survive. 

**I received this book for free from (Publisher) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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