A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

What makes a good boyfriend you ask?  One who buys you books for Valentine’s Day, the only way to my heart!  I will have to say, I was quite impressed with his choice.  I had asked for another book, which he also got me as well as this one he picked out on his own.  The book cover looks a little intimidating to say the least.  The back cover states that this is a story caught between The Exorcist and The Omen.  Let me tell you a little bit about, A Good and Happy Child….

The story brings us to meet the main character, George Davies.  He can’t bring himself to hold his newborn son. After months of accepting his lame excuses and strange behavior, his wife has had enough.  She demands that he see a therapist, and George, desperate to save his unraveling marriage and redeem himself as a father and husband, reluctantly agrees.  Soon George starts to recall how he was a social outcast and how the mysterious death of his father after a visit to Honduras made him even more of a social pariah.  It was around this time when he needed a friend when suddenly a Huck Finn prototype appears outside his bedroom window looking very much like George himself.  At first this friend makes George happy and then things start to change and the friend starts to tell George things about his father and about his father’s friend – about letters and secret longings.  The question is: Is the Friend real, and a demon, or is George mentally ill and performing the violence himself from some subconscious need? The authorities believe the latter, but friends of George’s father believe the former, because of beliefs the father held.  When violent acts start to take place, a tug of war ensues for the right to help George; it becomes psychiatrist versus religion. Who is right?

The story is creepy and you can’t really decide if George is mentally ill or if he is truly possessed.  Just as you’re convinced he’s mentally ill, an event happens that is definitely supernatural- an event seen by two other people.  This introduces a third option- that there is a poltergeist, activated by George’s subconscious turmoil.

 

This book is a horror story that reminds me a lot of some of what was written in the 70s- The Exorcist, The Omen. It has the same ability to make the skin crawl because of the uncertainty as to what is real- and how far the violence and evil may go.  This is an excellent book that teases the reader into wondering if it is a psychological thriller or a supernatural horror novel. How you interpret it will depend on what psychological baggage you bring into this book with you.  A great debut novel from Justin Evans!

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