A mind is a terrible thing to destroy . . .
Kathy has been hired to assess the threat of patient Henry Banks, an inmate at the
Connecticut-Newlyn Hospital for the Criminally Insane, the same hospital where her brother is housed. Her employers believe that Henry has the ability to open doors to other dimensions with his mind-making him one of the most dangerous men in modern history. Because unbeknownst to Kathy, her clients are affiliated with certain government organizations that investigate people like Henry-and the potential to weaponize such abilities.
What Kathy comes to understand in interviewing Henry, and in her unavoidable run-ins with her brother, is that Henry can indeed use his mind to create "Tulpas"-worlds, people, and creatures so vivid they come to actual life. But now they want life outside of Henry. And they'll stop at nothing to complete their emancipation. It's up to Kathy-with her brother's help-to stop them, and if possible, to save Henry before the Tulpas take him over-and everything else around him.
Praise for the novels of Mary SanGiovanni
"SanGiovanni evokes a Lovecraftian sensibility in this action-filled story. . . . Scary, suspenseful, smart, and gory, the novel is also beautifully set and described."
-Library Journal on Savage Woods
"A feast of both visceral and existential horror." -F. Paul Wilson on Thrall
"Filled to the brim with mounting terror." -Gary A. Braunbeck on The Hollower
"A fast-building, high-tension ride." -James A. Moore on The Hollower
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This story is about a woman who has a brother in an asylum. Also in the asylum is Henry. Henry has made a make believe world in order to protect himself from abuse. His imaginary friends killed some teenagers that broke into his home with the intent to hurt him. Now he's in the asylum, because no one believes that he didn't commit the crime. The woman is sent to investigate his claims. She investigates the occult. She's a freelance investigator. Unusual things begin to happen in the asylum. People are dying, and it's not clear how they died or who murdered them. An excellent story that has you on the edge of your seat.
Supernatural is one of the genre's that I enjoy the most. This novel seemed to promise it all, it is the second Kathy Ryan book but I did not feel like I was missing anything. It can definitely be read as a stand alone book. Kathy is employed to investigate Henry Banks at the Connecticut-Newlyn Hospital for the Criminally Insane. coincidentally the same facility that houses her brother. Henry is believed to be a threat by her employers, he can use his mind to create Tulpas. Unfortunately for everyone the Tuplas have a mind of their own, so to speak, and want to exist independently of Henry. It is up to Kathy, with the help of the brother she detests, to put a stop to it. The premise was fantastic, I however found the book unnecessarily gory and I do not shy away from supernatural or horror novels. The gore and many,many,many deaths were gratuitous for me. If you expect this going in you may well enjoy the novel more.
What happens when your imaginary friends are no longer satisfied living in the world you created? What if they want to live in yours instead? When Kathy Ryan interviews a patient at Connecticut-Newlyn Hospital for the Criminally Insane she learns about Henry’s friends. The staff dismiss them as hallucinations but Kathy thinks otherwise. Henry only survived the horrific abuse of his childhood with the help of Maisie, Orrin, Edgar and the Others. Henry’s friends’ lives started in his imagination and they lived in Ayteilu, the world he created. Unlike your normal garden variety imaginary friends, Henry’s have seriously levelled up. They’re tulpas, “sentient and more or less autonomous beings brought about by the use of the mind.” Kathy’s investigation forces her to interact with her brother, Toby, another Connecticut-Newlyn patient. Awkward! And suitably creepy. I was eager to learn more about Kathy’s history after reading my first Kathy Ryan book, ‘Behind the Door’, and my wish was certainly granted in this book. I can handle all the book blood spatter and gore an author throws at me, but this part of the story was genuinely horrifying. It answered my questions from the previous book and was so well done. I hesitate to say that I loved it but it felt right, given what I already knew of Kathy, and it caused a visceral reaction in me. While I had so much fun reading about Kathy’s previous investigation in Zarepath, this investigation blew me away. I loved the setting, the characters (especially Ernie), the action, the interaction between characters and the imaginative ways Henry’s friends interact with our world. You do not want to be cast as a character in one of Mary SanGiovanni’s novels. If you actually make it out of the book alive (chances are you won’t and your death will be suitably gruesome) you will not be unchanged by the experience. Nightmares, severe trauma and a massive therapy bill will be amongst your prizes for surviving. If you are squeamish, this book is not for you. If, however, you love the kind of horror that spills enough blood to make The Shining’s river feel more like a trickle and you want to jump up and down with perverse glee when a horror story character’s insides become their outsides, then this is definitely right up your alley. If you’re not convinced yet, you will also come face to (sort of) face with such awesomeness as a rampaging vending machine and flying lawn mowers! While this story ends in a way that could be a satisfying conclusion to the series I really hope there’s more to come. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Lyrical Underground, an imprint of Kensington Books, for the opportunity to read this book. Five blood soaked stars from me!