Review: Strange Ink | Gary Kemble

This review is spoiler free.

42170244“He snapped a photo. He stared at the screen, not believing what he was seeing. That must’ve been from the night before. A drunken photo of someone else. But that was his bedroom. His neck. And on it, a tattoo.” 

Series: Harry Hendrick
Published: 2018, by Titan Books.
Pages: 391
Format: Paperback
Genre: Horror, Fiction, Fantasy, Crime, Thriller
Contains: Death, Violence, Anger, Murder, Blood/Gore, Strong Language, Torture, Hospitals, Fear, Alcohol

‘Strange Ink’ explores Harry Hendrick’s life as it is turned upside down after he wakes up gradually decorated in strange tattoos. He has zero recollection of where they come from, only that they relate to the equally unusual dreams he’s been having. The answer is more sinister than he ever imagined.

The gorgeous cover and unique concept is what initially drew me to this book. Strange dreams, unusual tattoos, and a protagonist that just wants none of it? Yes, please! However, the delivery was just disappointing.

The reason for this novel to be classified as a horror begins and ends with the tattoos. There is very little scare beyond the novel’s premise. It just wasn’t what I signed up for; an unfortunate huge let down.

Protagonist, Harry, also wasn’t up I believed he would be. Yes, he was quick witted and entertaining on occasion, but he was also selfish, a drunk and full of oh-woe-is-me. I simply didn’t care for him. So, the fact the was being haunted and put in danger? There was no redeeming factors about him to make me show sympathy about it. But that might be just my intolerance of the use of alcohol in characters.

The narrative itself felt extremely slow, meaning my interest sell short and I found myself skim reading at time. The description lacked on occasions, and I felt as if sentences at times were incomplete or cut short at times, making the narrative read a little too casual for the novel’s intention. However, the cover itself is simply beautiful, and the sprayed edges is also a lovely inclusion. It’s just a shame that the pages within didn’t live up to expectation.

Overall, this was a disappointing read. The narrative lacked, the characters were nonredeemable and only the concept held the story together.



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