Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review: Asylum Lake by R.A. Evans

BOOK BLURB: The State’s second largest Psychopathic Hospital opened in 1917 on 600 wooded acres overlooking a small lake near Bedlam Falls, Michigan. Through its doors came the weak and the weary, the disabled and the discarded, the frail and the forgotten. But an open door is an invitation, and some visitors, once invited, are loath to leave. The hospital abruptly closed in 1958 under a cloud of mystery. It has remained empty and silent, save for the memories trapped both within its walls and far below the surface of the nearby lake that bears its name. At the bottom of Asylum Lake, the unremembered are growing restless. 

Brady Tanner is trying to outrun memories of his own. After the sudden death of his wife, Brady retreats to the small town where he spent the summers of his youth. But he soon learns small towns can be stained by memories…and secrets, too. As Brady is drawn into unearthing these secrets, as he discovers a new love in an old friend, he is also drawn into the mystery of Asylum Lake and the evil that lies submerged beneath its sparkling surface. What is the source of this evil – and what does it want with Brady Tanner?

I run hot and cold with so-called "horror novels", but for some reason was attracted to Asylum Lake by R.A. Evans. In essence, it is the story of a young journalist who returns to his hometown after tragedy befalls him, and becomes involved in supernatural happenings related to his late father and grandfather, a mysterious bracelet, and the abandoned insane asylum across the lake from his childhood home.

While there is no shortage of the requisite blood found in most horror fiction, R.A. Evans is clearly a smart writer, and builds a multi-layered story in Asylum Lake with characters in whom the reader genuinely becomes invested. Brady is a likable and believable protagonist, and the other characters are equally well-drawn. Evans makes great use of setting and effectively incorporates several horror motifs, especially "love interest/child/pet in danger". His pace is quick, but not frenetic.

I can always tell a terrific read by its ability to keep me up past my bedtime.  Asylum Lake did this for several nights. I highly recommend the book, and am looking forward to more from R.A. Evans.

This book was published in the summer of 2010, and the author is currently working on the follow-up.  His blog can be found here: http://www.raevanswrites.wordpress.com.com


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