Title: A Special Place: The Heart of a Dark Matter
Author: Peter Straub
Genres: Horror | Mystery | Thriller
Length: 136 pages
Have you ever wondered how a sociopath grows up into a serial killer? In this chilling book you get a pretty good picture.
This novella shows us the process of Keith Hayward’s, a character in Straub’s novel A Dark Matter, descent into evil.
That is a whole lot of emotion packed in such a small book.
First of all, that cover is stunning. I was in love with it from the moment I first saw it.
This book was terrifying. It chilled me to the bone. Straub is a master weaver of tales and, most of all, characters. It’s a novella, there cannot be much room for elaboration, but you can definitely tell that, after such a seemingly innocent set of a boy and his uncle perched on a tree stump having a conversation, something crucial is about to happen to our main character.
You can see he is twisted from an early age, but as the story unfolds you also realize there are some tenuous remains of humanity left, and can see him struggle with it.
The writing is superb. Even if I felt it dragged on a bit at times, it all served a purpose. The suspense kept me constantly on edge and the character development of Keith intrigued the heck out of me. There is psychological terror and there is physical one, but most of the latter is hinted at, not exactly shown. You know the characters are depraved, but never really fully to what extent.
There isn’t much more I can say about this book without spoiling it. It’s one of those that you really need to slowly discover yourself. Also, as a prequel, there isn’t much closure, so you need to read it for the ride. And boy, what a ride.
A few thoughts: I am not quite sure why Keith wanted Miller to meet his uncle when he did, or if Keith’s parents suspected Till since they knew the cops were looking for him and had to protect him at least to some degree. I kept rooting for Keith till the end, particularly when he found out what his uncle was doing. I wanted him to go to the cops. I wanted him not to leave Miller with him. I wanted him not to kill Miller and take him to the hospital. But I suppose it was all inevitable.
A Special Place is an amazing, very disturbing novella. In the end, I could not help mourning for Keith, and wondering what his life would have been like without Uncle Till in it.
Read on Jun 03, 2015