I read this one out of curiosity.
Lilyn over at SciFi and Scary read and reviewed it last year. She was so repulsed by the story that she was conflicted on how to write the review. My curiosity was instantly perked. It made we wonder why she had such a strong reaction to the story and if I would react the same too. But after reading, I understood.
A woman sacrifices everything to care for her husband whose chronic illness can’t be diagnosed. Susan Branch’s life revolves around the care of her charming and inscrutable husband John, a man born into wealth and prestige who lost his family’s fortune when his mysterious chronic illnesses left him bedridden. Together they live a decrepit existence beholden to the current owners of his family’s former estate.
After years of devoting herself to John’s care, Susan is worn out and frustrated. Yet she is determined to scrape together whatever resources she can to keep John comfortable and happy. This includes stealing Demerol from the doctor’s office where she works to feed John’s ever-increasing need for pain medication. As John’s condition continues to puzzle doctors, Susan begins to notice strange objects appearing around her house. Ever wary of creepy Old Pete, the groundskeeper, Susan decides to confront the elderly man and put an end to his snooping for good.
John suffers a critical emergency, but he is saved and is soon released from the hospital. As his health begins to improve, Susan dreams of a normal life, but her hope for a miracle transforms into a nightmare one fateful afternoon when she discovers the true cause of John’s sickness. (Amazon)
Despite Lilyn’s review, I wasn’t prepared for how disturbing this story is. I think of it as a short story or novella (it was hard to tell what the page count is) because it was a quick read. I completed it halfway through a 2-hour long flight and was scowling as I read.
It is well written and descriptive and the little hints we are given made me suspicious of the characters, Susan and Old Pete, for hurting John and causing the flare-ups of his mysterious illness. However, I wasn’t convinced by any of my suspicions and was surprised when the mystery of John’s sickness was revealed at the end. It made me so angry. I had to take a breath and stare out the window at the fluffy clouds.
I’d like to say more, but this is a short story that’s easy to spoil, so I’ll just stop here. I’ll just say it’s descriptive and unsettling and will probably keep you on the edge of your seat if you don’t do well with suspense (like me).
Overall: ★★★☆☆ 1/2
It’s a good read and a quick one and I highly recommend it, though it might not be for everyone.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
I believe the e-book is free on Amazon.
P.S.: I rewrote this like twice because I kept spoiling the plot.