A dark, psychological thriller about a boy's search for himself
Four thousand, three hundred and seventeen stitches, his father had told him once. All the King's horses and all the King's men had put Henry Franks back together again.
One year ago, a terrible accident robbed Henry Franks of his mother and his memories. The past sixteen years have vanished. All he has now are scars and a distant father—the only one who can tell Henry who he is.
If he could trust his father.
Can his nightmares—a sweet little girl calling him Daddy, murderous urges, dead bodies—help him remember?
While a serial killer stalks their small Georgia town, Henry unearths the bitter truth behind his mother’s death—and the terrifying secrets of his own dark past.
Sometimes, the only thing worse than forgetting is remembering.
Peter Adam Salomon’s second and third novels, ALL THOSE BROKEN ANGELS and EIGHT MINUTES, THIRTY-TWO SECONDS, were nominated for the Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in Young Adult fiction. His first two novels were named a ‘Book All Young Georgians Should Read’ by The Georgia Center for The Book.
He founded both National Dark Poetry Day (Oct. 7) and the annual international Horror Poetry Showcase for the Horror Writers Association.
His poem ‘Electricity and Language and Me’ was performed by The Radiophonic Workshop on BBC Radio 6. Two of his poetry collections were nominated for the Elgin Award. In addition, he was the Editor for the first books of poetry released by the Horror Writers Association: Horror Poetry Showcase Volumes I and II.
He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Horror Writers Association, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, the Science Fiction Poetry Association, the International Thriller Writers, and The Authors Guild.
I was completely caught off guard by this ODD, little book! I didn't look at ratings or reviews, I just dove in. When I first started reading this book I thought it was going to consist of a teenage boy - who's suffering from amnesia - coming to terms with the death of his mother, and a distant father who's seemingly too busy with his work to care. Uhh...not quite. Maybe If I had looked at the cover a bit more carefully I would have seen there was a bit more to it than that. But I'm thankful I didn't because that's the very thing that cinched the deal for me!
I'm not one to write long reviews, so in short this book is a WONDERFUL READ with a sympathetic, teenage protagonist who is determined to find out the truth about his dark past, and a father who isn't what he appears to be.
I can only categorize this book as a Horror/Coming of Age/ Modern Day Frankenstein.
I will defintly be reading more books by this author!
This was a different, well let's just say it... ODD book. I really didn't know what to think of this, but it caught my eye at the library. It was interesting and I kind of got caught up in it as it was a pretty fast read. I might reread this at a later date again, as I feel I might have missed something. It just didn't end well for me.
I have been an avid reader of mysteries for five decades, working diligently to piece out clues, marveling when authors don’t telegraph ahead of time, and I can truthfully say I came to only a tentative conclusion about this story, and that was quite a way into it! So author Peter Adam Salomon has done a really excellent job of interweaving the characters, plotting, backdrop, and settings in this story, never allowing any information too early.
At sixteen, Henry Franks has no memory beyond a year earlier. He remembers the present, but nothing before what his father has informed him was a vehicular accident in which Henry was injured quite badly and his mother killed. Henry knows he has scars, he has pain, he has numbness, and he is an outcast, a pariah, at high school in Brunswick, Georgia. His only friend is his next-door neighbor on St. Simons Island, Justine. His father, William Franks, works in the morgue at the Regional Psychiatric Hospital nearby. Life is mostly a mystery to Henry, and his father has become increasingly estranged. Henry’s psychiatrist, Dr. Seville, reassures him memory recovery is a process, but why, after a year, has there been no progress?
This is only the surface story; as the friendship between Henry and Justine intensifies, as Henry’s emotions mature, and as a violent hurricane approaches the Georgia coast, so too do events intensify, including multiple unexplained murders. Readers will marvel at the denouements, and be thankful they picked up “Henry Franks.”
Henry Franks is one strange story, but the character of Henry is very easy to like and identify with. The author does a great job of keeping the reader guessing exactly what is going on. I was hooked almost from the beginning and gladly went where the author wanted to take me. Between the therapy sessions, the soon to arrive hurricane, the serial killer operating on the islands and the mysterious comings and goings of Henry's father, there was much to keep the readers interest. For the ending the reader needs to suspend any rational belief, and I have to say that though I had my guesses that there was no way I could have actually conceived of the truth. Thou this is billed as a young adult read it was actually creepier than many adult reads. ARC from NetGalley.
This book kept me awake, reading, all night. The author and I are college pals and so I was very excited to read it. I was particularly fond of some of the characters, but the thing that gripped me was wondering the Ws-- who, what, where, when, and why. And how, always how did Henry come to be? I kept wondering why he was so loved, creepy as he was, while at the same time loving him myself.
I really loved this book and I promised to tell everyone to read it twice. So, read it twice!!!
Henry Franks is a story told in language that's both gorgeous and creepy. It gave me chills, it inspired sympathy, and the ending! OMG, the ending! What I loved about this story is that it's definitely horror, but at a level that's palatable for teens (and scaredy-cat adults like me!). I would definitely hand this to high school readers--it will keep them turning pages and guessing right up until the very last sentence. Bravo, Peter Salomon!
I really liked the atmosphere of this book - it was just the right amount of creepy, and the use of the elements to build suspense was particularly well handled. I didn't fully figure out any of the plot twists in advance, which was a nice surprise. My only real complaint was that I felt the big reveal was a little clumsy - I would actually have been happier knowing less detail, as the flashbacks broke up the flow of what was, aside from that, a very well constructed narrative.
Creepy, spine-tingling and thought-provoking this Psychological thriller searches deep within your soul.
This unusual and most original story is about one young boy’s inner struggles as he searches deep within, to find out about himself. “Four thousand, three hundred and seventeen stitches…his father had told him once. All the King's horses and all the King's men had put Henry Franks back together again…” This story begins with the horrific accident in which the young boy’s mother dies together with all his memories of happiness within the past sixteen years, just simply fade away with her memory. His distant, aloof father is the only person who can bring Henry back into the light again by explaining to him who he is, and how his scars were created so that they can begin to heal. But trusting his father is easier said than done, especially when he is surrounded by death all day working at the local Morgue and who buries himself in his work (metaphorically and symbolically speaking). Henry has visions and memories of a sweet, young girl calling to him ‘daddy’ which is only the beginning of more sinister happenings to come, as soon his mind is filled with more deadly visions such as the urge for killing, revenge and even murder. Dead bodies fill both Henry Frank’s waking hours and his mind as he struggles to remember the past and all that he deep down wants to uncover, even if it is easier to forget. Then, when suddenly a serial killer appears in their small Georgia town, Henry uncovers the bitter harsh truth behind his mother’s death and the terrifying secrets that mask his own dark past. Along the path of destruction that the killer leaves behind him, this young boy finds out the answers to all the clues as the dark veil is lifted.
This disturbing, sinister and spine-chilling tale has to be the most heart pounding novel that I have encountered within this genre for a long time, and one which evokes its genre perfectly. With an intensely absorbing and shocking plot that will have you sat on the edge of your seat, this book certainly had me glued to the pages into the early hours of the morning! If you love mystery and thrillers, psychotic killers and bloodthirsty murder then this tale is a delight to behold, and which also contains much deep meaning within regarding the inner workings of the human mind and in particular a young child’s thought processes. A fantastic read that I would highly recommend! *not recommended reading after dark*
I'm going to try very hard to make this review spoiler-free!
Cover: 5/5 The title of the book doesn't at all catch my interest, but the cover did. It's grungy and kind of creepy, and made me stop long enough to look at the synopsis. I particularly like the stitching across the middle.
Characters: 4/5 I adored Henry. Justine was a sweetheart. Henry's dad was great. I enjoyed all the characters...I just wish we'd gotten a little more feel for them. I know Henry doesn't remember anything from before the accident, but he doesn't...have too much of a personality. We don't know what he likes, what he enjoys. I DID love seeing him open up and have a sense of humor with Justine as the book progressed.
Plot: 5/5 Wow. I picked this up because it looked dark and creepy, and I was not disappointed. I can't even get into it because it might spoil the book, but let's just say--I'm excellent at figuring books out, even twist endings. I had half of this one figured about 50% through the book, but the other half took me by surprise. I love it when that happens. I love when an author distracts you with all these big things going on, that the tiniest detail will go unnoticed until the end and you remember, "Oh, I hadn't thought of that." Kudos! And, the ending broke my heart.
Writing: 4.5/5 The third-person POV was kind of distant in places and took me some getting used to. BUT, I think that was because I'm so used to reading first person POV in YA novels these days. Once I got used to it, it was fine. I don't give the writing a full 5 stars simply because some things were way overused. I get that Henry focuses on his scars a lot, but I don't think we need detail on it every single time. Mainly, my issues were editing issues--things that should've been caught and might very will still be caught since this is an ARC.
Overall: 4.5/5 Great book. The blurb really doesn't do it justice and should really, really be rewritten. This will be an ARC I purchase when it's available!
I didn't really know what to expect when I picked up 'Henry Franks'. I was very pleasantly surprised with what I read. It's like nothing on the YA market right now - very original. The story flows perfectly and the narrative is so well written that I just flew right threw it. The character of Henry Franks is such a puzzling mystery - it's so mind-boggling trying to piece together what happened to him "before." Things in his story don't add up and he's starting to wonder what really happened. Trust me - you will never see the answer coming. It hits you like a ton of bricks and leaves you with your mouth hanging open muttering "What?!?" This is a compelling YA thriller/suspense like I've never encountered before. I don't want to ruin anything by revealing too much of the story, but there are tons of twists that leave you begging for more. Henry Franks is a unique page-turner in the literal sense of the word; I couldn't stop reading it until I figured out the truth and finished the book. The plot is such an interesting concept that it will leave you thinking about it long after you finish the last page. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Maybe I liked this book.... But then again.., maybe I didn't. Here. I'll make this simple by listing the pros and cons. Pros 1. The mini romance: it wasn't so big that it overwhelmed the story, and it was very gradual. 2. Mystery- I was guessing the whole time. My idea of the ending... I think I would have been happier if that was what it was... But more on that later. Overall, the mystery of the story was very successful. 3. Henry- Henry was easy to identify with. He was realistic. He... Made a lot of sense. Cons 1. False hope- I don't think this can really chalk up to a wrong on the author's part. I just had this idea for the end... And the actual ending wasn't as good of an ending I had thought up in my head. For whatever reason, I thought that he and his mom were held captive by a psycho and strategically cut. Maybe I watch too much Law & Order: SVU. 2. Epilogue- it was strange and made me sad. I'm not going to continue because I can't figure out how to hide spoilers with my iPad. 'Nuff said.
Henry Franks has no memory of himself. His father told him there was an accident that killed his mother and left Henry as he is now. Henry meanders through his days attempting very little contact with the world. When he's alone, however, he's looking through his scrapbook trying to piece together his past. With the help of his therapist and neighbor, Henry starts to get closer to figuring out just what happened to him. The only problem is that what happened may not be something he wants to know.
Henry Franks was one of those spontaneous reads. I wasn't prepared for the amount of emotions I'd experience while reading it. The main character, Henry, is a very sad character that I just want to hug. He's going through a lot and I feel his struggle for answers. When readers finally get to where all Henry's questions are answered, you're left a whole lotta horrified. This is what I'd like to call a horror that slaps you in the face after you are lulled into complacency. I love that.
As cheesy and odd as was the ending to this mystery thriller, I finished the last page chuckling to myself for two reasons. 1. The conclusion to the mystery and 2. Because even though the conclusion made me want to scream out loud, even though I never would do unless the conclusion actually was some type of reality in my life, I still liked this book. The writing was good, the pacing was fast and that damn mystery had me guessing the whole way through. I guess the author succeeded in my eyes, right? If this movie was adapted onto the silver screen, it would be a straight to DVD, B-movie. But hey, even those need viewing from time-to-time. As in this case, read.
So many have called this an "odd" book and although a don't completely disagree, I would call it greatly unique. The book starts very vague and although you know what is happening, you don't really know what's going on... And you know it! That's what makes this the page-turner it was (although I listened to the audiobook) and what brought this read to the next level. The story was wildly interesting and the dialogue was spot-on! I do wish I read this book - I regret listening to the audiobook only because the narrator and I did not meld well until I went with 1.5x speed, and even then I never really loved the narration. I will say one more thing - a single word actually... Unexpected!
[Thank you Peter Adam Salomon for the free audiobook]
Henry Franks, 16, suffers from amnesia and is seeing psychotherapist Dr. Margaret Saville to recover his declarative memory. From his father, a physician apparently working in forensics at the local hospital, Henry knows that a year ago he emerged from a coma after a catastrophic accident that apparently killed his mother. The boy has all the scars that would support Dr. William Franks’ version of events, and no one else with whom he can verify the details. He is ostracized at school, bullied, and called “Frankenstein”. Besides father and therapist, the only person to show kindness to him is girl-next-door Justine, a cheerleader with honey-brown eyes. The information Henry has been provided about his past does not satisfy the teenager that he is, in fact, a person called "Henry Franks". He is tormented by dreams in which a young child calls him “daddy”, by the notion that his name is really "Victor", and by the horrible thought that he is responsible for the deaths of these dream people: daughter, Elizabeth; wife, Alexandra; and himself. It doesn't help that Henry’s father--apparently a workaholic, who only comes home to slap fast-food burgers on the table and feed a homeless person from the back porch--is too aloof and preoccupied for Henry to approach for answers. Each evening Dr. Franks barricades himself in his locked bedroom to do who knows what. As Justine and Henry develop a friendship, and then something more, they attempt to piece together Henry’s missing history. The only way to go about it, they feel, is to uncover the secret of Henry’s father’s identity. Their investigation unfolds as serial murders occur and Hurricane Erika barrels towards the coastal islands of Georgia, where the story is set. A number of “surprises” occur along the way, and Henry ultimately discovers who he is.
Peter Adam Salomon’s young adult novel is an interesting hybrid of genres. Combining elements of science fiction with mystery, horror and a dab of romance, the novel also includes the obligatory search for identity that is so characteristic of young adult realistic fiction. Does the book work? To some extent. Salomon is very good at creating a dark. foreboding atmosphere by incorporating a number of southern gothic elements into his work. Henry and Dr. Franks reside in a huge, dark and dusty old mansion whose heavy curtains are always closed to the oppressively humid summer heat of Georgia. Spanish moss is draped from trees whose branches do their fair share of scraping and hissing at windows, especially during the storm scene that marks the climax of the book. The descriptive details ramp up the tension in a novel about a character plagued by dark dreams and big questions. What is less well done is the “science” part of the fiction. Throwing around a few anatomical terms and medication names isn’t enough to allow discerning readers suspension of their disbelief, never mind convince them that Dr. Franks could single-handedly perform some of the medical procedures attributed to him. The ending is all a bit rushed and far too pat. The early promise of this atmospheric novel, with characters whose names are pulled directly from Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, to provide us with a modern-day retelling of the classic 19th-century monster tale, is not fully realized. The romantic elements are also quite weak,especially the melodramatic dialogue between Henry's parents and Henry and Justine. Characterization is also not as strong as it could be.
In the end, the skill to develop and carry through the interesting premise of the novel is lacking. One admires the author for his ambition, but what started off well becomes a bit silly. I suspect that many middle school students—girls and boys alike—could become engaged with the novel. It’s a quick read, and not without some merit, but ultimately disappointing.
Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance reading copy of this novel for review purposes.
Henry Franks, oh Henry Franks... I have some pretty mixed feelings about this book. I’m still not sure if I’m in full support of the book or not, just because the ending was ridiculous, but there were things I liked about it. The way that Peter Adam Solomon used detail and emotion in his writing made you have a strong reader-to-character bond that I enjoyed. He also wrote newspaper clippings and weather alerts and put them in the book to kind of give you a feel of what was going on in their town, which is really important in this story. It also kind of foreshadowed problems that were going to happen later on in the story, like “2009 Hurricane Season Predicted to be Active (Update).” (Adam-Solomon, 20)
Henry Franks is pretty much a book entirely about death and morbidness. I don’t even know, it’s kind of a lot to take in sometimes. Henry Franks, the main character, gets in an accident that took his memory, and his mother, one year prior to the book’s beginning. This accident left Henry with horrific scars all over his body, and in a coma for a year. In addition to this haunting him, he also has suspicions about his Dad. He has been really distant and Henry is worried that all he’s been told about his past isn’t true. He lives next door to a girl named Justine that he eventually becomes very fond of. Together, they work to figure out what really happened to Henry whilst a serial killer and a category 5 hurricane is threatening their town. Yep.
The beginning and the middle of the book was actually pretty good. But it was the ending that made everything just fall apart. It was one of those endings is super expected, but you don’t expect it to happen at all. Just one page after another was just like ‘ This is not even happening, oh my gosh.’ I guess it would be good in the element that it was a page-turner because you were literally freaking out the whole entire time, and wanting the book to just become normal for once. That’s the other thing, too. The author, Peter Adam Salomon, put the characters in a normal, everyday setting, no dystopian stuff or anything. But everything that was going on was absolutely ridiculous. It was like something you would find in a dystopian novel. Like the author wanted to cram as much distress and suspense as writerly possible. Now that I think about it, it was pretty genius, but still makes me mad.
There was definitely an emotional bond that I had with the book, since the main character, Henry, is going through so much. I mean, even if you had the perfect life, you would still have an emotional bond with him because the way that Adam-Solomon wrote is like you were right inside his head. I could even take that saying literally and tie it in with the book because quite a few of his dreams were written, so you felt like you almost were Henry. Now that I’m finishing this, and I think about it, I really did like the book. Adam-Solomon is a really great, descriptive, writer that uses imagery to the fullest.
I really do recommend this book, even though the ending was hard to get through without wanting to scream out ‘WHAT?’ The epilogue did a very nice job of kind of tying everything together, even though the ending of that was kind of annoying too. I would say if you were in a real suspenseful page-turner mood, you should read this book.
This is a bit like a modern-day Frankenstein story. Henry, the main character, has no memory of his life before a horrific accident that gave him the many scars that cross his body. Most of the book involves him trying to figure out his past, while dealing with strange dreams that don't seem to belong with him, and the growing understanding that his father isn't telling him the complete truth about his past. Also, there is also a new serial killer loose in the area, and Henry's father seems to be hiding what he knows about these events. The true story comes out near the end in one long narrative from Henry's father, right before he dies from a wound from this killer. Henry had been dying of cancer, and his slow death was driving his mother mad. She made his father - a great doctor - swear that he would save him, and yet nothing he did seemed to work. Finally, when Henry was about to die, his father took drastic measures. He took the body of a man who had just committed suicide, and transplanted Henry's head onto this healthy body. Since Henry wasn't waking up from this operation, however, his mother tried to commit suicide, and so his father was forced to do a similar procedure to her. The next problem was that Henry seemed to be rejecting this body transplant, and so parts of him kept dying. His father therefore had to keep adding new body parts as the limbs died (which explains Henry's many stitches). Both Henry and his mother finally woke up, but Henry had lost all of his memory, and his mother had gone completely insane. During the entire book, while Henry tried to understand his past, his father had been chasing down his mother (who had escaped) since he thought she was responsible for the serial killings (which she wasn't).
This was an interesting book. It borderlines on gruesome - which is unsurprising considering the subject - but it manages not to go too far. There is a constant reminder that Henry's scars are itching in the Georgia heat, and that he is slowly losing all sensation in his arms, and yet these details don't go out of their way to disturb you. This isn't necessarily a fast-pased novel, and yet there is definitely a continuously growing tension, which crescendos at the end with the arrival of a hurricane and and final revelation of the truth. Instead of being filled with suspense, this is a book filled with the constant sensation of dissonance, which is different enough from most books to make this one memorable.While the entire plot could be viewed as disturbing, what actually threw me the most was the epilogue, which fasts forward about a decade into the future. In it, Henry is on his deathbed (his body is still in the process of rejecting his transplant) and wife (who was his high school girlfriend, and who has obviously become a doctor in order to save his life) proposes to keep him alive through a second transplant. This would mean finding another "donor" body to replace his failed one with. If there is going to be a sequel to this story, it looks like we will be faced even more with the ethical dilemma of questioning how far you would go towards saving someone you love. Would you be willing to go so far as to kill in order to stay alive?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Sometimes after I finish a book I think that maybe I should have read the blurb first. I'm not sure if that's the case with Henry Franks or not. You see, I didn't realize this book was billed as a horror.
On the one hand, I was able to slowly realize that, "Hey, something really weird is going on here." But, I was also so shocked at the ending that I almost laughed. I was unprepared for the unbelievably horrific resolution.
Henry has been in a terrible accident that killed his mother and wiped away all the memories of Henry's first 15 years. So, we have a high school boy who remembers nothing from the past. His father isn't much help. He's a workaholic, and when he's home he spends most of his time in his room -- which has a padlock on the door! The few times Henry wanted to talk to his father or ask him some questions it wasn't even possible.
Thank goodness Henry has made a friend with the next door neighbor, Justine. Henry is covered with scars and bullied at school, but Justine befriends Henry, and she begins to help him investigate his past. They do find out some things, but none of it makes much sense. Eventually they begin a very sweet romance.
Henry is also seeing a psychiatrist, who in my opinion, isn't helping much (I'm no expert, though) A few little breakthroughs would have been nice. Henry dreams of a little girl who calls him Daddy. This doesn't make sense because Henry is only sixteen years old. There's also a serial killer committing extremely brutal murders that the reader is exposed to via newspaper clippings. And, the newspaper also reports that a hurricane is coming.
I was totally confused about what was happening. I had no explanation for the events occurring. I couldn't figure it out -- which I guess is a good thing. But, when the explanation was given, I was shocked. It was of the "unbelievable" nature. The ending was also very quick. Henry Franks is relatively short, and Salomon could have spent more time on a more detailed ending. Some events happened so fast that I had to go back a re-read to make sure I caught it all!
I liked Henry and Justine. I liked how their relationship developed. I hated Henry's father. Salomon is a good writer and pulled me into the story. Except for the breakneck pace of the ending, I enjoyed reading Henry Franks.
I have to rant a bit about the eARC format. The newspaper clippings are obviously two columns in the printed book, but when they converted it to eBook format, the clippings were read straight across, so the text was all jumbled. Now, I could kind of figure out what was going on, but it really slowed me down, frustrated me, and pulled me out of the story. I know this is only an ARC but I cannot believe that someone didn't take the time to fix this! It is a disservice to Mr. Salomon. I can imagine people tossing Henry Franks aside when they come to those parts and deciding not to finish. This blatant mistake, repeated over and over throughout the book, is inexcusable.
Fans of the macabre will enjoy Henry Franks, although it is a very slow building story. It's not all horrific all the way through, but the characters, their relationships, and the puzzling events will hold their interest.
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.
I could hear the scratching wind, see the swinging moss, feel the heat create sweat on my brow, and fell in love with a monster.
Though, it all depends on how you define a monster. That's what this book is about. I don't want to spoil anything, but this book is thrilling and makes you think. It's thoroughly enjoyable, mysterious, dark, twisting, and so goddamn good. It stays good if you can't read it in a single sitting, and it certainly lingers when you've finished reading it.
I'm all about characters, building them, progress them, and making them come to life.I like to guess, wonder and try to figure out the mystery but I do not like it when I can see it coming so early. I love the visualization, the feeling, the little details. I see things in my mind as I read and it's so vital that an author shows instead of tells, so that way I can really get into a book.
Basically, that's Henry Franks. It has everything I love, and I can't see a single downside. It's like the perfect book for me and I'm so thankful to have won it, to get to read it. I had an inkling where the book was going to go, but it didn't turn out exactly like I expected. I was gripped by the story and was attached to all the characters, in different ways. I could really see and feel the setting, and the characters.
I always say, adults should read young adult books too. It's not just for children, it's not junior books. There are so many great books that people miss out on just because of the genre. This is on my list of favorites. This book will get recommended by me for everyone. This is an example book of a great YA fiction. - - As for what the other reviewers said, I do agree the ending unfolded so quickly. I was torn from wanting to read as quickly as possible due to the adrenalin pumping climax, and having to go back to re-read to keep everything straight. That of course, just might be my own hastened reading. I don't really have a problem with the quick ending, it was building the whole book and don't see how else it could have come out, except as a flood. That's just all IMHO of course.
With the paperback ARC I received I didn't have any format problems with the newspaper clippings. If there were other errors, I was so engrossed with the story I didn't get into my usual nit-picking mode. That was refreshing for me.
Review: Henry Franks is a strange boy. He’s lost most of his memory, dreams of a girl calling him daddy, cannot feel physical pain, and has rings of scars around his neck. Understandably, Henry wants to find out more about himself, his family and so on. With his kind of girlfriend Justine, he sets about uncovering family secrets, as a hurricane builds and a serial killer is on the loose. The mention of mysterious scars was what drew me into this. Around the neck. I really don’t get how anyone can be that badly injured around the neck and survive. Then I started reading Henry Franks, and found a lot more than that to enjoy. Henry is a very intriguing character. His dreams and his scares kept you interested, because there’s so many possible explanations and there’s lots of little revelations throughout that heighten the mystery. I really liked Justine because she’s smart and understanding, but I would have liked to see her develop a little more. William, the father, is a reclusive character with a LOT of secrets that get uncovered at the climax. The ending. Oh my gosh. All the revelations. I can’t tell you what happened but it was one of the most amazing chains of events that I’ve read for a long time. it’s very improbably, and it’s one of those stories that you really have to suspend belief as to what is possible and what isn’t (a slight shock after a fairly realistic story where there horror is more psychological). And I highly doubt anyone would have seen it coming. Or maybe it was just me being thick. The names! They should have been a bit of a giveaway, but there were enough other thing to put you off the scent. It���s really good storytelling. The narration to star with seemed a bit detached, but I soon got used to it and really attached to the characters. I enjoyed the development of the serial killer storyline. My first read of Henry Franks was with the Netgalley copy, which made it hard to pick it up (my kindle didn’t handle it very well) but reading the physical copy made me get how the suspense around the killer built up well. I especially like the fact that this storyline intersected with Henry’s family story.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a really good novel with roots in another of my favourite books, but a fresh perspective on it all.
Your heart immediately goes out to Henry, the immensely uncomfortable, sensitive, intelligent young protagonist of this darkly disturbing read. Readers are almost compelled to follow the trail of clues that wind through this novel in much the same way that the stitches map Henry's skin. It is in fact Henry's skin that starts the mystery.
Why is he covered in itchy scars? Why can't he feel pain when he pricks his fingers? What happened in the "accident" that resulted in his being this way? WHY CAN'T HE REMEMBER BEFORE?
One of the things that make this book work so well is the fact that there are very few relationships in Henry's life. There are: 1.Henry and his father-astranged due to his father's unwillingness to talk to Henry about his past. 2.Henry and Dr. Margaret Saville PhD- Henry's therapist, the dynamic here is very clinical due to Henry's insistence upon not letting the Dr. in. 3.Justine-Henry's next door neighbor, crush, and friend. This is the cosest and most evolved relationship of the entire book. She is a key factor in solving the mystery that surrounds his father and thereby finding the key to his past.
Readers of this book will be interested to note that the author went to great pains to keep things really simple. The story itself takes place in a small island community, the cast of characters is very small, and Henry's level of interaction is kept to a minimum. Keeping things with in story on a smaller scale allows the author to focus on scenes that add to the dramatic feel of this read. This is a technique that is often employed by horror writers. This book is packed with action, murder, mayhem, mystery and surprises.
My oh my what an interesting concept for a book. I wanted to give this three and one-half stars; since that is not an option I chose to go up to four as some of this story will be in my brain for a long time.
Henry James woke up one year ago with no memories. None. His father explained there had been an accident which left his mother dead and Henry with four thousand three hundred and seventeen stitches holding him together. William, Henry's father, tells him little else, in fact his interactions with his son are limited to brief encounters in the kitchen and the questions 'how are you' and 'are you taking your medications'. Henry is alone. Justine, the girl next door, is the only person who seems to see him. She slowly makes her way into Henry's life. After he finally tells him what he does know of his past she offers to help him search for answers. But are they answers Henry really wants?
I had a general idea of where the story was heading but was surprised (and horrified) when Henry's accident was revealed. The author gives hints as the story progresses but nothing that could break the suspense, only complicate it a bit. The writing was perfect, keeping the pace and tone of the book steady yet building at the same time. Justine and Henry develop into very real characters, other characters in the book are also very believable - even his never-present father can be understood. My only reservation had to do with the serial killings but I would rather not introduce spoilers into this review, I just had a little 'duh?' reaction, probably because I love details.
I received this book book through goodreads, the review is my honest opinion of the book. Looking forward to many more books from this author.
Henry Franks is a novel about a teenage boy with scars that are always itching and a terrible case of amnesia. He doesn't remember anything that happened before the accident, and he suffers from not recognizing his own name or his own father. As Henry slowly unfurls out of his shell around his talkative neighbor, Justine, the newspapers are full of murder reports happening all across the quiet island of St. Simons island.
So first off, having grown up in Georgia myself, I love that this happens in a known Georgia location during specific years and during a very specific weather pattern. I think it's incredible the amount of work and research it takes to create a world within that space, but Peter does a splendid job with it.
Another piece I want to include, and perhaps the part that made this book glow for me, is the clear knowledge of cognitive science and the effects of head trauma. People forgetting who relatives are and sometimes, more importantly, not having the same feelings of warmth as they used to are known side effects of that trauma. Read up on Capgras syndrome for more information on this very real phenomena.
What makes life worse for Henry is that his father seems untrustworthy. And you're not sure if it is a case of head trauma or if he really is acting suspiciously. So you're not sure if Henry's lack of emotion for his father is truly from head trauma and amnesia, or if his father isn't who he says he is.
Anyway, you get the idea of how tangled this story is and how much fun it is to unravel the mystery! I honestly love that about Peter's books. The ending absolutely threw me for a loop too!
I am looking forward to getting to read more of Peter's work!
Henry Frank by Peter Adam Salomon To be released September 8, 2012 Henry doesn’t remember the accident that gave him the scars on his body, and he isn’t sure why he is losing feeling in his hands. What he does know is that his mother died in the accident that caused his father to become eerily absent and caused Henry to forget. Something is not quite right on St. Simons Island. Could that something be connected with the series of murders that have been reported? One of the most refreshing aspects of this gruesome mystery is the voice. Unlike so many novels now told in the first-person, “I” narrative, this novel is told from the outside looking in. This outside view, coupled with the sparse dialogue between the main character Henry, and those he speaks with gives readers a more crisp view of the action, but also a more limited view, very appropriate for a mystery. Clues are planted early, but they are subtle, and I challenge readers to decipher their meaning before the revealing climax. The novel’s setting is also a strength—it certainly ratchets up the creep factor. The environment is hot and steamy, causing Henry’s scars to nag and itch, thus building the reader’s feeling of unease, and the impending hurricane, coupled with Henry’s loss of feeling, builds pressure on the reader to discover the killer. Salomon’s technique is clipped, with the only true narration appearing in news articles, which not only builds tension, but drives reader crazy trying to predict the killer and the ending, making for an extremely satisfying read. This is Saloman’s debut novel—a promising beginning to a writing career I plan to follow!
Henry Franks is unlike any book I've read this year, but I'm still not sure how I feel about it. There was a definite sense of originality that I liked. It didn't follow any formula and when it threatened to go down the easy route with character development or plot details it stayed true to the story. There are obvious connections to Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and yet there is still a uniqueness to the story.
I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the book. There were a lot of questions that Henry is attempting to answer and when they are finally uncovered it actually quiet sad to consider the lengths that were gone to in order to protect Henry. What accident caused Henry's injuries? His mother? What is his father hiding? Who is the killer? What is happening to Henry's body now?
So why am I so unsure of how I feel? Well, I think it's because I didn't really connect with Henry and at times his relationship with his neighbor Justine didn't feel authentic. It was all too easy. There is also the issue I had with the very end. I don't want to reveal what happens, but to me it didn't feel right. I just couldn't see the characters accepting the final decision they make. Then again, maybe if I had connected with them more, it would have worked for me.
Due to an accident that killed his mother, Henry Franks has no memory of his life before he woke from a coma a year ago. All he knows is that his body is covered in stitches, he can't feel pain in his appendages, and he doesn't quite fit in anywhere, including his own home, where his father hides behind simple conversations and locked doors, unwilling to provide Henry with details about his life beyond what can be gleaned from a scrapbook of generic photos (unfamiliar birthdays, unfamiliar friends, etc)...
Henry tries to come to grips with his continuing amnesia with the help of a therapist and the girl next door, a girl who sees well beyond Henry's disfigurement. As their relationship progresses, a serial killer pops up in the area, Henry's father starts acting even stranger, and Henry begins to realize all is not as it seems.
This book moves at a furious clip. Mr. Salomon builds up intrigue and mystery with an expert touch. Thought I had things figured out halfway through, but I was wrong. The romance element is beautifully intertwined. The horror builds with subtle tension until it comes crashing down with tremendous effect. Highly recommend this. At times sweet, at times dark, always intriguing.
For writers: the dialogue scenes throughout this book are pitch-perfect marvelous, IMO