The Reviver by Seth Patrick
Just finished reading The Reviver by Seth Patrick which is a very well told horror/thriller and, I thought, a quite unique and well thought out tale.
The story is based in a future (not sure how far ahead exactly) where it has been discovered that certain people can, by touch, revive the dead. Basically, this was hit upon by accident but once it became known about it was adopted widely, both as a means to aid investigations – particularly murder – and also as a way for families to say goodbye to their loved ones. Of course there are plenty of other implications and side effects to revival. There are those people who are totally against it – called the Afterlifers who will go to extremes in order to make the use of revival cease. On top of that there is the fact that murderers now have to step up their bad ass grisly – using decapitation or burning their victims in order to prevent a, quite literally, last minute identify reveal as the reanimated corpse points the finger at the killer.
The whole area of revival is very well explored I thought – in fact some people might think maybe a little too much detail! We get an idea of what the reviver has to go through in order to try and turn back the clock and we also see that those revived suffer a horrible sort of confusion.
Of course, revival is still relatively new and little is known about it. Not to mention the authorities are conscious to avoid any sort of bad press in order to keep it squeaky clean in the public’s eye.
At the start of the story, the main protagonist, Jonah, is reviving a murder victim. After going through the process and questioning the victim, and when all is seemingly complete – the woman looks directly at Jonah and says ‘we see you…’ yeah, it gives you the goosebumps! Of course nobody else sees this and it isn’t committed to film and so the general conclusion is that Jonah is overworked and suffering stress. Jonah is one of the top in his field which consequently means he deals with some rather severe cases as few others have the ability to revive such murder victims. To say this is stressful is a great understatement and within the first few chapters you have a good idea of the darkness that Jonah is surrounded by. Not only is he overworked but he’s also lonely. A side effect to the ability to revive is the ‘chill’ factor. Which means that when a more regular, mundane, type of person touches you they will feel something akin to a very cold and unpleasant experience. Doesn’t do much for the relationship status. On top of this Jonah suffered an ‘episode’ a few years earlier and is still very much conscious of that fact – as are his friends and colleagues, particularly Never who keeps a very close eye on his friend.
Now, the first half of this book gets off to a great start. It’s creepy and it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up at some points! I just can’t say more other than things in the shadows, lights going off, darkness and ‘people’ watching. It all brings this delicious creepiness that has you feeling anxious about being the last one up having to turn all the lights off.
Also, the characterisation is really good. Jonah is a great character. You really do feel for him. You feel scared for him as well and you just really want him to catch a break. He made me feel exhausted just reading about his exploits. The other characters all play lesser roles but nonetheless valuable parts.
The second half of the book changes a little in nature – it becomes more of a mystery and a race to unravel what’s really going on. We see the involvement of a journalist, who has her own personal reasons for getting so involved and also a blast from Jonah’s past makes a short appearance. The strands from the start of the book are brought together and we start to have revealed the bigger picture of what is actually happening here. The overall effect of this is to lessen the chill factor slightly as Jonah and his new ‘helper’ set about uncovering the truth. That being said, I thought that Patrick made an excellent job of escalating the tension again at the end with a very fast paced ending. I think that would be my only criticism really – I thought the ‘horror’ element to the story definitely lessened and became something more like detective/forensics.
I did enjoy this though and will definitely read the next in the series.