A haunting tale of suspense, rendered with the masterful skill only Barker could muster.
After the loss of his parents, young Jack Thatch first met Stella as a child--this cryptic little girl of eight with dark hair and darker eyes, sitting alone on a bench in the cemetery clutching her favorite book. Gone moments later, the brief encounter would spark an obsession. She'd creep into his thoughts, his every waking moment, until he finally finds her again exactly one year later, sitting upon the same bench, only to disappear again soon after.
The body of a man found in an alley, every inch of his flesh horribly burned, yet his clothing completely untouched. For Detective Faustino Brier, this wasn't the first, and he knew it wouldn't be the last. It was no different from the others. He'd find another just like it one year from today. August 9, to be exact.
Isolated and locked away from the world in a shadowy lab, a little boy known only as Subject "D" waits, grows, learns. He's permitted to speak to no one. He has never known the touch of another. Harboring a power so horrific, those in control will never allow him beyond their walls.
All of them linked in ways unimaginable.
★★★★ 5 𝓢𝓽𝓪𝓻 𝓡𝓮𝓿𝓲𝓮𝔀 ★★★★
Duuuuuuuuude! I don't know where to start with this book. It's almost 800 pages of pure gold! I was reluctant on this one meerly over the page count. I thought for sure it would take forever to read or maybe not keep my attention with it being so long. I WAS WRONG on both accounts. I devoured the book in a few evenings. I never got bored. I was all in from the first chapter.
I'm still not sold on the title. (I know, I'm nitpicking, but hear me out.) First of all, it's a long title. Many readers aren't fans of long titles. Secondly, after reading the book, I'm just not feeling it. For me, it doesn't fit the story. Not really. Stella is broken, sure, but not her heart. Her heart is anything but broken.
This book definitely has a King and Koontz vibe. It's got the sci-fi element/feel, but yet it's not full on sci-fi, but it kind of is. It's hard to explain without giving away important things that need to be experienced when read. It's the perfect balance of a friendships, loss, love, heartache, action, and twists and turns. Every element fully compliments the other.
The characters in this story are everything. You get to know Jack pretty well. You feel like you're living his life over a 30 year span. You experience his ups and his downs. You learn his strong points and his weaknesses. You don't really get a strong hold on Stella. She is one of those characters you're not quite sure of until all is revealed. She is given to you in just the right mysterious way.
As far as the rest of the characters. There are some you know you don't like right off the bat. Some you most certainly shouldn't. Some... well, not all is as it seems. And others, well they are only human, doing what they need to do to survive.
The twists and turns aren't immediate. They are doled out slowly as pieces of the past and present are given. They might not all hit you in the gut, but that doesn't mean they are less powerful. I love that Barker doesn't just slap you in the face. Many of the twists are a slow build and almost feel like an epiphany of sorts once the pieces fall into place.
Overall, this is at the top of my must read list for the year. Just like Barker's 4MK series, this book will have you begging for more from start to finish.