Sunday, 30 October 2016

Book review - Amy - Stuart Keane

Stuart Keane's latest release - Amy is the third book in the chronicles of Amy and the sequel to his earlier novella - Charlotte. I received an ARC of the novel.

I was interested to see how the final book in the trilogy would shape up after following the story of a young girl and her sadistic imaginary friend. The original book, Charlotte was a suspenseful and violent piece of brooding, dark fiction. The prequel to Charlotte - Awakening, for most part was a powerful, gut wrenching biopsy of a young child growing up suffering abuse at the hand of the one person that she should have been able to trust; a story that will stay with the reader for a long, long time and the background to the creation of Amy Brunswick's imaginary friend.


This brings us to the latest piece - simply titled Amy. November, 2021 - We return to Lake Whisper. Amy Brunswick, now eighteen years old has been contained within Whispers Ward for the last eight years, since the unexplained massacre in her family home all those years ago. During her incarceration within the facility, Amy has been using the time to reflect upon her experience, Keeping herself to herself and the inner beast that is Charlotte remaining dormant. That is until the opening scene which sees Dr Stone sanctioning her release under questionable circumstances.

The book doesn't hang around, it gets straight into the action from the offset, immediately encompassing Amy Brunswick into a shroud of mystery and suspicion. The next few chapters were probably my favourite part of the book where we see an unexpected swerve into the unknown, as characters and plot are introduced that could be  reminiscent of a modern day version of Evil Dead. These are scenes that are dark, visceral and Keane in his element, offering the reader first class thrills. There is one character in particular who I won't name, who becomes absolute evil personified - you'll know exactly who I mean when you read it.

So, back to the main plot where we see Amy Brunswick going in search of her mother - Patricia Price. A woman who since abandoning her daughter in Whispers Ward nearly eight years ago has moved on to a new marriage and family life with her husband, Walter and her two boys Ethan and Corey. Patricia has feared that the day of her daughters release, knowing full well that she will be spending the rest of her life constantly looking over her shoulder. This love / hate relationship forms the main catalyst for the latter part of the book as we see the depths that a woman will go to protect her family against her eldest child.

I can't really give much more than that without some major spoilers, so I will leave it there. Throughout this book you will find yourself asking the question - Is Amy Brunswick a bad person? Is Charlotte in control of Amy or is Amy in charge of Charlotte? Does Charlotte even exist or is she a scapegoat of Amy's darker side of nature? Where reasoning is provided, you may find yourself feeling empathy for the character yet.. not.

That, I believe is what makes this book so good. Although the pieces are all slotted into place and the boxes are ticked, you are left with lingering questions and afterthoughts. Just as I thought I had the end sussed, Keane throws in another little twist that left me way off mark. Touche.

In summary, a wild and thoroughly horrifically entertaining read. A fantastic stand alone book, but the final piece in an amazingly powerful trilogy.Think The Exorcist meets Evil Dead meets Cape Fear and you may be somewhere near the mark. There are a fantastic new breed of horror authors currently emerging from the UK and Keane is at the forefront of that crowd. This book is testament to his amazing talent.

My rating - 5/5

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