"Through a Glass, Darkly"
by Bill Hussey
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Bloody Books
In my horror reading experience I never read a debut novel of the genre, every time I read authors that had already made a name for themselves. When I picked up "Through a Glass, Darkly" I didn't know what to expect, but I found the debut of Bill Hussey an impressive one.
Detective Inspector Jack Trent is assigned to investigate the disappearance of the young Simon Malahyde and for this case he has to partner with his former girlfriend, Dawn Howard. Putting aside their divergences they work on a case that becomes more complicate after two bodies of murdered children are discovered. But Jack Trent has visions of another murder, a murder of a child in a forest, and he thinks that the victim of that murder will be Dawn's son. Trying to save the boy's life Jack has to deal with himself, his suppressed visions of the future and the self-imposed loneliness after the death of his mother. Helped and guided by Father Asher Brody, Jack ends up facing both outer and inner demons.
Bill Hussey builds a powerful novel, using the needed ingredients of a good horror novel, mystery, tension and terrifying scenes, with psychological and supernatural aspects. "Through a Glass, Darkly" takes place through the length of 7 days, each day being a part of the novel and contributing intensely to the novel's rhythm. The author manages to build the tension gradually, reaching the highest point at the end of the novel, keeping the mystery and slowly uncovering all the aspects of the story. The end part is as good as it is unexpected, with a twist that I never considered or thought of, and it took me by surprise. Also, in other occasions Bill Hussey turns the scenes, suddenly changing on obvious outcome of the respective scene in a less obviously one.
The novel's characters are strong, sounding true and acting properly to their condition. The author manages the language well, creating true impressions, for example when a character is panicked or scared you can feel him panicked or scared in his conversations, thinking and acting. Also they behave properly to their occupation, like Asher Brody being a priest, Richard Jarski the police chief or Jamie Howard being a school boy. And above all, Jack Trent made me feel for him and with him, with very well caught psychology and very well described childhood memories. Bill Hussey also creates powerful and terrifying images, scenes vivid and grotesque, like those of Peter Malahyde and his decaying health, Jack Trent's visions or the final images of Jamie Howard.
The novel has some things that reminded me of Stephen King's novels, like song lyrics, car models or movies mentioned in the novel. It has the ingredients of the modern novels too, like sex scenes, but those are not too ostentatious or too pornographic and also like some of Stephen King novels that I love, it leaves a sense of bitterness and sadness at the end.
"Through a Glass, Darkly" is the best horror novel that I read this year and Bill Hussey's debut is an outstanding one. With certainty I will look forward for Bill Hussey's future works.