Friday, 19 September 2014

The Grey Matter by Billie Sue Mosiman

Naughty BSM for saying “I think you will like this story” to me, as bang went my productive Saturday afternoon. What an amazing opening paragraph, I dare you to read it and not want to finish the book.

There is a sadistic killer living amongst the gentle folk on the Mountain.    John Grey knows what he is, he likes what he is, he is well skilled in his pretense of normality, but he likes killing, he needs to kill. 

Just down from his den of torture is Caleb’s cabin, a teenage boy that has already made his fortune.  This allows him to provide a place of safety, a home, to his long abused friends; Abe, Ben & Josie, not forgetting Gabby the dog.

You cannot help but be envious of this wonderful friendship, even the obvious love triangle between the three boys and Josie, is treated among them as a source of strength and joy; the loyalty and love they feel for each other is clearly described, and played upon, by BSM.

Her ability to create characters that feel real and then insist that you care about them is amazing. It’s easy to see why she is nominated so often for awards.

When the EMP bombs are dropped, the lights go out and life changes for everyone in the small town and those on the Mountain, the struggle for survival just became harder, especially with a killer in their midst.   The devastation portrayed by BSM in the failing of modern culture and how people turn on each other was more terrifying than any zombie horde.

When John starts to “slip” mentally his killing becomes uncontrolled.  Friendships are now about to be tested to the limit. BSM has now ratcheted up the tension.

With law enforcement having left the town or left their own minds, the townsfolk so hungry they turn to “who knows what”, the safety of the cabin soon becomes the center of a blood bath.

The last quarter of the book is so tense my teeth hurt from the clenching.

Even when I thought it was over I turned the page to find more stalking, more horror and more murders, exquisitely described by BSM in her gentle way that left me bug eyed.

Happy ending? Good guys beat out the bad guys?? No spoilers here, but hang on to your pants because this is a wild ride into hell with no end in sight.