Tuesday, October 30, 2007

HALLOWEEN REVIEW: 'Sanctuary of the Mind' by Michael Southard

TITLE: Sanctuary of the Mind
AUTHOR: Michael Southard
PRICE: Free E-Book
GENRE: Horror, Psychological Thriller

A Horrific Tale of a mind torn to shreds by drug addiction...or perhaps not?

Perky is your average substance abuser, living a life of petty crime in order to fulfil his needs, and spending his time with a loser crack-whore girlfriend who has no interest in him other than the drug-induced euphoria he provides. The oddity with Perky is that he must be doing quite well in the petty crime industry as he has an apartment and a few more possessions than most drug-addled wasteoids.

This short story, which has the leanings of a novella, begins with an intense retrospective: A man solemnly chewing over the fact that his life had gone terribly wrong. His faith in himself has diminished to terror-fuelled paranoia and the LSD is the only thing that dulls anguish...or rather -- dulls the voices.

But those voices won’t let up and defy his attempt to ignore them, manifesting into a tangible alter-ego, which Perky cannot only hear but can see and touch...and the voices are this monster’s legion of friends. LSD Hallucination??? Or not!

The story is well written; the language is uncluttered and concise, and the imagery is eerie, grim, and chilling. This is a short story, coming in at a mere thirty-six pages, but it keeps its intensity throughout and is heavy on internal dialog and chaotic personal reflection as in much of the works of Poe or Lovecraft. As Perky’s sanity dissolves, he begins to imagine his girlfriend as a succubus fiend who will drain his essence before killing him in some vile and tortuous way. He believes the doppelganger to be his guardian angel, sent to save all men from the evils of women. But that theory couldn’t be farther from the truth...

A very promising start! Very suspenseful...I hope to see more in-depth work from this author -- an author who clearly has a grasp on horror -- it’s not all cliché monsters.

7/10 Rating mostly due to some formatting and grammatical issues, which could easily be corrected.

Reviewed by Cheryl Anne Gardner: Cheryl Anne Gardner, author of four novellas, is an Executive Assistant by day, an avid reader, and an independent reviewer with Podpeople.blogspot and Amazon where she blogs regularly on AmazonConnect. She is an advocate for independent film, music, and books, and when at all possible, prefers to read and review out of the mainstream Indie published works, foreign translations, and a bit of philosophy. She lives with her husband and two ferrets on the East Coast, USA.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Wonderful review, Cheryl! Thank you!