Being a book reviewer all in all is a pretty rad experience, being here and as part of The Mouths of Madness podcast, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of. Getting to read works that appeal to my fiction appetite, sometimes before the public gets a crack at it, from authors I know will entertain to those I’m experiencing for the first time, is awesome. I’ll gladly take that hit, for the greater good of course.
When a title comes my way that everybody is talking about, one that I’m already dying to read and drops in my lap (or on my eReader), it makes the “job” that much more satisfying, entertaining. Adding a cherry to the sundae.
“Seeing Evil” is one of those titles. A book I was hungry for, not just as a reviewer but as a genre fan. So I was quite excited for the opportunity, my first Jason Parent read. And how did it sit with me? Ah, the suspense.
While you’re here make sure to hit up the link at the bottom of this post for a book giveaway from Mr. Parent. He has copies of “Seeing Evil” along with a few other titles up for grabs, so check that out and good luck to you. And without further ado…
“Simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Zakk reviews “Seeing Evil” by Jason Parent. 232 pages published by Red Adept Publishing.
Overall score: 5/5
“At once, Samantha knew that not only did Michael comprehend what had happened to his parents, but also that he felt it in the worst sort of way. His wail was ghostly and ghastly, the cry of one seized by agony. Samantha was afraid, both for him and of him, and of what such trauma might cause him to become. Backing away, not knowing how to comfort the lost child, Samantha knew it would not be the last she would see of Michael.”
During an altercation with a group of classmates higher up the food chain than he, 14 year old Michael Turcotte is overcome by a vision of a traumatic and violent future event. Failing to get anyone to understand or believe, and not able to stop things on his own, events unfold as he first saw them.
Now labeled a freak by his classmates, avoided by his foster parents and exploited by his only true friend and guardian angel, Michael must learn to deal with and interpret these glimpses of horrific events crossing paths with himself and those he cares about.
Can Michael, along with his friend Sam, a police detective, connect the dots and stop a murder, or a murderer?
“Tessa covered her face with her hands and cried silently. Praying for mercy or at least a quick recovery, Tessa trembled the whole way home. Maybe he’ll kill me this time. The prospect was scary at first but bittersweet, tinged by a euphoric suggestion of release. The only problem was how much pain she would have to endure before death came.”
First off, I love stories with a youthful protagonist. Horror through the eyes of children, hero’s learning the ways of the world by way of fear is an angle that I have always responded to. Wonder tarnished, innocence lost (or broken), youths having to rise beyond their years to look darkness in the eyes, it lends an added weight to a piece. That is if an author can pull off a genuine feeling of youth (or wonder, or innocence) which Jason Parent does, well.
Having youthful characters that come off of the page feeling like youthful entities requires a little bit of deft that some writers are just not able to handle. So when it happens, fluidly, I find myself connected immediately.
Suffice to say that I was on board with “Seeing Evil” from the beginning. Strapped in, connected to and invested in this story of a young man with a violent past stricken with visions of horrific events.
The book is populated with a handful of youthful entities that ooze of their intended age, personality and social standing. As do the adult entities, especially Christopher, who brings a thick sense of malice to every scene he is in. The cast are not just characters filling a page and propelling a narrative, they’re individuals occupying a space. Which has a lot to do with some solid natural dialogue, which is a pet peeve of mine and the thing most likely to make or break a satisfying read.
The possibility that no one was going to make it out safe, let alone alive, made it’s presence known quickly. I love having to brace myself for the impending doom of a character whom by all accounts should be a survivor or the fear of losing a beloved character.
This impending doom is compounded by some tense and visceral imagery. There are some ugly goings on here, which I’m not going to lie, whet my whistle a bit. Michael’s visions are meaty and satisfying, as is how the story plays out afterward. It’s all handled well, propelling the story along an amping up the stakes quickly.
The other aspect to “Seeing Evil” that really sold it to me was the unexpected turns the story takes. I’m not talking twists or angles that jut out of nowhere. There isn’t any of those. It’s the situations where a character doesn’t make the choices you expect them to. Nor do they make the choices you want them to. They seem to handle thing their own way, which is refreshing.
This book is highly enjoyable and very entertaining. The kind of read that makes you want to shirk your daily responsibilities and call off work. It is definitely worthy of the TMOM stamp of approval and a title that I have no qualms about recommending to others.
“Michael slowly turned to face her. ‘Yes. I caught a glimpse of Heaven, and it was beautiful, so beautiful that I didn’t want to leave.’
Michael burst into laughter. He laughed until he could hardly breathe. He couldn’t believe Sam actually fell for it. When he was finally able to talk again, he said, ‘Of course not. It’s like I told you, this is a waste of time. She’s dead. I didn’t see a thing.’
She scowled. ‘You’re a jerk.'”
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
The Mouths of Madness Podcast
Fate in plain sight.
Major Crimes Detective Samantha Reilly prefers to work alone—she’s seen as a maverick, and she still struggles privately with the death of her partner. The only person who ever sees her softer side is Michael Turcotte, a teenager she’s known since she rescued him eleven years ago from the aftermath of his parents’ murder-suicide.
In foster care since his parents’ death, Michael is a loner who tries to fly under the bullies’ radar, but a violent assault triggers a disturbing ability to view people’s dark futures. No one believes his first vision means anything, though—not even Sam Reilly. When reality mimics his prediction, however, Sam isn’t the only one to take notice. A strange girl named Tessa Masterson asks Michael about her future, and what he sees sends him back to Sam—is Tessa victim or perpetrator?
Tessa’s tangled secrets draw Michael and Sam inexorably into a deadly conflict. Sam relies on Michael, but his only advantage is the visions he never asked for. As they track a cold and calculating killer, one misstep could turn the hunters into prey.
In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.
In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it’s harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he’s back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that’s another story.
When he’s not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody’s head off – he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.
Please visit Jason on Facebook, on Twitter, or at his website for information regarding upcoming events or releases, or if you have any questions or comments for him.
Praise for Seeing Evil
“… Parent writes in such a fluid, mesmerizing and realistic way that I found I couldn’t stop!” – My So-Called Book Reviews
“Seeing Evil is one of those books that takes off at a fast pace and doesn’t slow down.” – Carries Book Reviews
“Jason Parent tortures us right alongside his characters. The world building is excellent and very real.” – I’m a Voracious Reader
“…one of the best suspense thrillers I have read in a very long time. In lesser hands it would have been a decent read but the author’s skill in setting the scene, character development, and story tellingmakes this a far superior novel.” – Book Nutter’sBook Reviews
“Seeing Evil has some very special moments and is a very fast read. There’s no denying Parent has talent.” Glenn Rolfe, author of Blood and Rain, Boom Town, and Abram’s Bridge
“Wow! That was just brilliant! Every single chapter straight from the very beginning had me gripped.” – Andrew Lennon, author of Keith and A Life to Waste, a Novel of Violence and Horror
“Superbly fast paced from beginning to end meaning you will not want to put it down. A plot that will keep you guessing to the very end but not in a confusing way. Brilliant characters that gel together perfectly. A bloody good book.” – Confessions of a Reviewer
“This is one seriously entertaining, thought provoking read.” – Adam Light, author of Taken, Toes Up, and The Corpus Corruptum
“This book was a police procedural/thriller/psychological horror story-it doesn’t neatly fit into any category except for: ‘damn fine read’.” – Char’s Horror Corner
“The entire story was strong, driven, and merciless in all regard from beginning to end. Even when you think you know where it’s going, there’s yet another–logical–twist.” Horror After Dark
“Seeing Evil is a perfectly-paced book, with intriguing characters and white-knuckle, edge of your seat tension. The villain is particularly haunting in an all-too-plausible way, and even a few days after having finished reading the events of the book are still vividly etched in my mind. Parent’s writing here is top notch – sleek, efficient and with surprising emotional depth.” – Evans Light, author of Arboreatum, Screamscapes, and Harmlessly Insane.
Barnes & Noble
Red Adept Publishing
Sign up to enter to win one of five books from Jason Parent! There is one print copy of Seeing Evil, one print copy of Bad Apples 2 collection, 1 e-book of What Hides Within, and one e-book of Dead Roses. All winners get Seeing Evil bookmarks! Random draw chooses winner. First name drawn receives first prize, and so on. Any giveaway questions may be forwarded to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enter to win at the link:
Stepping back so as not to alarm the child, Samantha scanned Michael for wounds, but she couldn’t find the source of the blood. She hoped it wasn’t Michael’s, but she saw no evidence, no tracks or prints, that suggested Michael had been anywhere near the bodies. Then again, shouldn’t he be in a crib or something? What’s he doing in here? There’s no part of this that he should have been forced to witness.
Samantha moved in for a closer look. His hands rested on his thighs, the blood on them dry and cracking on his skin. Something protruded from beneath them, something dark and metallic.
Samanta gasped. “Michael, don’t move, okay?”
Michael seemed oblivious to her presence, swaying to a beat only he could hear. It was as though she wasn’t part of the world he was seeing. Slowly, she reached for the object with the caution of one taking a bone from a snarling dog. Only Michael wasn’t snarling. He seemed uninterested in her, still rocking and staring blankly through her, unblinking and locked on that same focal point.
Maybe he’s in shock. Maybe he does understand what happened here. His unresponsiveness was certainly beyond mere willful ignorance. Samantha didn’t think he would notice if she lit a firecracker in front of him. He seemed out of touch with reality. For the moment, Samantha preferred him that way.
With a hand as steady as a surgeon’s, Samantha reached for the pistol Michael was huddled over like a bear protecting her cub. She avoided contact with him, fearful of what would happen if she disturbed his trancelike state. Her fingers treaded over the barrel, searching for its grip.
She pulled the handgun, a black Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm, from beneath Michael. The barrel brushed against his thigh. With cold, empty eyes bulging open like those of the drowning, Michael gazed into Samantha’s. She felt exposed, as if with only a look, the child could delve into the recesses of her mind, revealing her every secret. The thought terrified her. So did Michael.
With reflexes beyond one of his age, Michael grabbed the gun with both hands. Samantha quickly pulled it away. Unnerved as she was, she still had Michael’s safety at the forefront of her mind. She removed the weapon from the boy’s reach, at all times conscious of its threat. When she found the safety smeared in blood, she clicked it on and breathed a sigh of relief. As she’d expected, there had been a bullet in the chamber. She dropped the gun into an open evidence bag held by Tagliamonte.
Michael’s eyes remained on her. They were blue and cloudy like the sky before a rainbow, a fire as bright as the sun burning behind them. His mouth creaked open as though tiny gears controlled its laborious motion. When his chin dropped so low it nearly rested on his throat, a sound, low and indistinguishable at first, emitted from somewhere deep within the boy. As it amplified, its sharp clamor made Samantha’s blood ice within her veins.
At once, Samantha knew that not only did Michael comprehend what had happened to his parents, but also that he felt it in the worst sort of way. His wail was ghostly and ghastly, the cry of one seized by agony. Samantha was afraid, both for him and of him, and of what such trauma might cause him to become. Backing away, not knowing how to comfort the lost child, Samantha knew it would not be the last she would see of Michael.