Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hank calls this book a "curious hybrid of police procedural and horror," but likes it just the same.

Award-winning author Stephen M. Irwin returns with a thrilling, supernatural crime novel built around an intriguing question: What happens when every single person is haunted by a ghost only they can see?

Without warning, a boy in the middle of a city intersection sends Detective Oscar Mariani's car careening into a busy sidewalk. The scene is bedlam as every person becomes visited by something no one else can see. We are all haunted. Usually, the apparition is someone known: a lost relative, a lover, an enemy. But not always. For Oscar Mariani, the only secret that matters is the unknown ghost who now shares his every waking moment . . . and why.

The worldwide aftershock of what becomes known as "Gray Wednesday" is immediate and catastrophic, leaving governments barely functioning and economies devastated . . . but some things don't change. When Detective Mariani discovers the grisly remains of an anonymous murder victim in the city sewage system, his investigation will pit him against a corrupt police department and a murky cabal conspiring for power in the new world order.

Stephen M. Irwin has created an unforgettable crime novel and an intense, textured vision of the near-future. The Broken Ones is the riveting search for hope in the darkest corners of the imagination.

Hank says:
"Stephen Irwin's second novel is a curious hybrid of police procedural and horror. It takes place three years after... something happened, the cause of which is never explained or explored. The result is that each person on earth becomes haunted by one specific, omnipresent ghost, which no one else can see. The world becomes a very different, chaotic place in which the story is set.

Detective Oscar Mariani is haunted by a boy he does not know, which is unusual in the new world order. Resisting departmental politics, he investigates a grisly, ritualistic killing, which soon becomes serial. Constantly accompanied by the boy, he follows numerous twists and turns, discovering evidence of an ancient force that seems to be the motivation, if not the agent, of the murders. Without giving away any spoilers, the many threads of the story are drawn together to a satisfying conclusion--even if we never learn what made the ghosts appear to begin with.

I would not say
The Broken Ones is as pitch-perfect as Irwin's first book The Dead Path (pick up a copy if you haven't read it!), but it is far from being an example of sophomore slump, and I hope he will continue writing convincing horror that succeeds in large part because of his understatement and restraint."

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