Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: Henry Franks, by Peter Adam Salomon @petersalomon

Sometimes after I finish a book I think that maybe I should have read the blurb first. I'm not sure if that's the case with Henry Franks or not. You see, I didn't realize this book was billed as a horror.

On the one hand, I was able to slowly realize that, "Hey, something really weird is going on here." But, I was also so shocked at the ending that I almost laughed. I was unprepared for the unbelievably horrific resolution.

Henry has been in a terrible accident that killed his mother and wiped away all the memories of Henry's first 15 years. So, we have a high school boy who remembers nothing from the past. His father isn't much help. He's a workaholic, and when he's home he spends most of his time in his room -- which has a padlock on the door! The few times Henry wanted to talk to his father or ask him some questions it wasn't even possible.

Thank goodness Henry has made a friend with the next door neighbor, Justine. Henry is covered with scars and bullied at school, but Justine befriends Henry, and she begins to help him investigate his past. They do find out some things, but none of it makes much sense. Eventually they begin a very sweet romance.

Henry is also seeing a psychiatrist, who in my opinion, isn't helping much (I'm no expert, though) A few little breakthroughs would have been nice. Henry dreams of a little girl who calls him Daddy. This doesn't make sense because Henry is only sixteen years old.

There's also a serial killer committing extremely brutal murders that the reader is exposed to via newspaper clippings. And, the newspaper also reports that a hurricane is coming.

I was totally confused about what was happening. I had no explanation for the events occurring. I couldn't figure it out -- which I guess is a good thing. But, when the explanation was given, I was shocked. It was of the "unbelievable" nature. The ending was also very quick. Henry Franks is relatively short, and Salomon could have spent more time on a more detailed ending. Some events happened so fast that I had to go back a re-read to make sure I caught it all!

I liked Henry and Justine. I liked how their relationship developed. I hated Henry's father. Salomon is a good writer and pulled me into the story. Except for the breakneck pace of the ending, I enjoyed reading Henry Franks.

I have to rant a bit about the eARC format. The newspaper clippings are obviously two columns in the printed book, but when they converted it to eBook format, the clippings were read straight across, so the text was all jumbled. Now, I could kind of figure out what was going on, but it really slowed me down, frustrated me, and pulled me out of the story. I know this is only an ARC but I cannot believe that someone didn't take the time to fix this! It is a disservice to Mr. Salomon. I can imagine people tossing Henry Franks aside when they come to those parts and deciding not to finish. This blatant mistake, repeated over and over throughout the book, is inexcusable.

Fans of the macabre will enjoy Henry Franks, although it is a very slow building story. It's not all horrific all the way through, but the characters, their relationships, and the puzzling events will hold their interest.

Published by Flux, September 8, 2012
eARC obtained from NetGalley
288 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. Enjoyed your review, but I'm not much of a horror fan. And it's a shame about the digital formatting. I just finished one where the font size kept changing. I understand that it's an eARC, but you think they would be more careful...

  2. I have this on my pile to read this summer, now I'm not sure if I want to. I don't read much horror because it really creeps me out.


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