Hello fellow Addicts,
Psychological horror. It’s been a favorite horror genre of mine for years. To feel an author or director pulling your mental and emotional puppet strings is exciting when done the right way. J.C. Hutchins is one such author and “Personal Effects: Dark Arts” is one such story.
As an art therapist at Brinkvale Psychiatric Hospital, Zach Taylor has worked with some very disturbed patients. The art they create is disturbing, but a helpful tool in their treatment. When he is assigned to decide whether an accused serial killer named Martin Grace is sane enough to stand trial, he has no idea of the trouble to follow.
The murders Grace is accused of committing are brutal and bloody in nature, and the prosecutor, Zach’s father, has no doubt of the man’s guilt. Grace instead claims an entity named “The Dark Man” killed the people and he is merely the sniper’s scope for it. Perhaps adding credence to the story, Martin has been blind since the murders ended.
I found the story a fun ride that kept me guessing and not wanting to put the book down. I found the conversational tone of the main character be enjoyable throughout the roller coaster ride. You’re kept guessing whether “The Dark Man” is a real demon or simply the figment of a deranged man’s imagination all the way to the end of the story. The descriptions given of Grace’s victims along with the misdeeds of Zach’s other patients give you enough detail to picture them in your mind without going into the realm of the torture movies.
If there is anything I have to wonder about, it’s whether any therapist would go to the lengths Zach does to help his patient. Also, the transmedia documents you receive with the book don’t really add much more to the story and could have been left out, although my wife and I mistook the included death certificate for a real one. All in all, my rating for this escapist psychological horror story is a 4 out of 5.