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Review: Strange Ink by Gary Kemble

strange ink by gary kemble

Strange Ink

Gary Kemble

When washed-up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes one morning with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out. But soon more tattoos appear: grisly, violent images which come accompanied by horrific nightmares – so he begins to dig deeper…more.

My Rating:

It’s The Manchurian Candidate meets High Crimes meets Ghost in Strange Ink by Gary Kemble. Slow and steady, this novel builds to a distinctive ghost revenge story where the atrocities of humans are more horrific than anything paranormal could cast a shade over.

Harry Hendrick is living in a rough patch. A journalist who’s never excelled beyond the local paper, recently dumped by the woman he thought he’d spend the rest of his life with, and now, he’s woken up from a ‘buck’s night’ not only with a killer hang over, but with a strange tattoo on the back of his neck. Sure, he could shrug it off as something he got in some drunken stupor, except there is a nightmare that goes along with the tattoo. More nightmares, more tattoos and suddenly Harry has his past, and someone else’s, coming back to haunt him.

This isn’t the type of book that jumps up and bites you.

There is a slow build, a compiling of wicked horrors, and backstory needed to leave the ultimate impact. So, although Kemble takes some time getting things going, the downhill rush is packed with thrills and chills. While there is a touch of a ghost story here, the chilling aspects come more from the warped acts that humans impart on fellow humans. Jumping in time and place, to Afghanistan and Christmas Island, Strange Ink unravels breadcrumb by breadcrumb.

This is more like a political thriller with hint of a ghost story than a true horror novel. Knowing a bit about Australian lingo, politics and economy could help when jumping into this novel, but isn’t at all required. Strange Ink is truly unlike many horror novels and a perfect addition to any varied horror collection.

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