Doskoi_panda's Reviews > Forsaken: A Novel of Art, Evil and Insanity

Forsaken by Andrew Van Wey
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Oct 28, 11

bookshelves: ebook
Read on October 28, 2011

Daniel Rineheart is a professor teaching art restoration at a small college in California. He has a family -a son, a daughter, a wife and the obligatory family dog- and a nice, respectable home. He also has had an affair with an unstable student, a problem with migraines and a tragic childhood, in which he and his brother were abandoned, then his brother locked him in a trunk during a game of hide and seek, which terrified him. A painting arrives anonymously for him at the college, a disturbing painting featuring a pair of frightening, weird children in a grim room, with a window and a tree beyond. Daniel embarks on a quest to uncover the painting's secrets, as his own begin to make themselves known. Forsaken is equal parts ghost story, treasure hunt, family drama and psychological crime, as it lures the reader into solving the narrative of the picture.

I really enjoyed reading Forsaken*. Andrew Van Wey makes use of language to differentiate character voices effectively; being able to identify a character's mental state by subtle changes in their word choices, rather than just being told that they were sad, angry, etc. I liked the references to roots growing into things, invasive root systems and the parallel of the dying rosebushes. I generally appreciate the kind of horror that creeps in over the shock value type, and while Forsaken has its moments of gore, it's the creepiness that sprawls throughout that I remember best. (The parts with Jessica were the creepiest, in my opinion - almost as insidious as the haunters in Henry James' Turn of the Screw. There were several other excellent instances of peripheral creepiness as well.) I also liked the detail of the chapter heading tree illustrated as losing its foliage, exposing it's core.

On the downside, the writing style is a bit verbose and could probably use a little pruning to improve pacing; though the writing never actually drags, I felt that it wanders a bit from the story in places. I was occasionally in information overload when it came to descriptions, particularly when it came to the first viewing of the painting. I would have also liked more on the relationship between the painting and the Rinehearts, as that felt described, but not really explored, though it also isn't a gap in the story.

Overall: 4/4.5 stars
Review copy supplied by the author as part of LibraryThing's Member Giveaway Program.
*except for any mention of "Boo-Bear". *shudder*
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10/28/2011
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Andrew (new) - added it

Andrew Wey HI Doskoi Panda!

Thank you very much for taking the time to write such a well thought out review. I truly appreciate it, and I promise that all further utterings of the nickname "Boo-Bear" will be met by a truly swift demise.

Cheers!

-D.


Doskoi_panda It was a great book - I am just the curmudgeonly sort that looks at cutsey couples with distain. *grin*
Cheers for letting me review it!
-Amanda


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