The Only Child by Andrew Pyper

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…she has learned how shaky the recollections of children can be. And she was only six when it happened. The age when certain things get stuck in the net of real memory, and other things you try to sell yourself on having happened but are in fact made up, turned into convincing bits of a dream.

Dr. Lily Dominick is about to encounter a man who has committed a disturbingly strange crime. Psychotics are her specialty, but there is something arousing and fascinating about this man. He claims to be 200 years old, a real monster that was used as inspiration for Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker. This is the part of the novel I loved, what a clever idea! With this, he must be mad! Crazier still, he claims he is her father! As the lone survivor in a brutal murder that took her mother’s life, haunted by strange recollections of a creature coming to her rescue, she is haunted by the tangled mystery of what happened. Lily knows better than to fall into a patient’s fantasy, but there is something different about this man, what if he knows what happened to her mother? The more she learns, his threatening presence becomes more real, or is she just losing her mind?

From the first few pages, I was expecting a different sort of novel. Then Pyper changed direction and Lily became someone else. Or maybe Lily’s professional side is much like a coping mechanism, her way of keeping her world in order, trying to understand insanity by labeling it. But this nameless being is all the Gothic monsters combined and yet no one has been able to capture his true essence. Will Lily be able to understand him? What if he really is her father, what does that mean for her? He is blurring the lines used to diagnose the insane.

Not at all the twists I expected from the novel’s beginning, which is usually a good thing. Admittedly, there were times I would rather see Michael’s rotted evil soul in his actions, there should have been more incidents. But I think his ‘creation’ was fascinating, an original idea with a spit of history. It’s funny, I would have loved a full story of Mary Shelley and Michael’s short lived relationship, the things this author could do with that! In fact, that’s what I loved most- Michael’s history. Sometimes I felt Lily got in the way, and she is the main character! I thought I had her pegged as this level headed survivor and then she unravels and morphs into something strange and different herself. It works here, maybe there is a bit of her father in her after all? Or maybe it’s a delusion she is falling under. You won’t know until you read the story! It was good, the ‘horror’ didn’t hit me between the eyes but I’m impressed with how Pyper worked classic authors into this strange tale. I was given an advanced copy, and my review is based on that. The novel won’t be available until the summer but it’s one to add to your reading list!

Publication Date: June 16, 2017

Simon & Schuster

 

 

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