*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
The frost melted into the air above the damp ground, creating a shimmering fog that seeped into the moonlight. At the edge of the forest’s dark fringe stood a meadow with mud huts sprinkled throughout, covered in blackened sod. The howls of the wolves seemed to hold longer than usual into the night.
The smell of burning wood cut through the cold air, and a thick plume of smoke rose over the treetops near the deep ravine. Hidden behind the tree line was a tall, thin man with toughened, leathery skin. Ash covered his hands, which hung from his arms like pendulums of soot and flesh. Fatigued and on the cusp of death, he wore nothing but a long dirty loincloth held to his fragile body with drayed twine. A glimmer of firelight touched his painted cheek, the reflection of flames danced in his dark eyes.
His head filled with pain and suffering, he gazed toward the fire pit in the small clearing while his tribe chanted ancient songs. As the drums grew louder, so did their voices, and they circled the fire with stomping feet. The man quietly worked his way deeper into the forest and along the path, hanging his head low, regret haunting his face. In the distance, the chanting rose to crescendo, then fell into a low-level hum before tapering off into silence. He knew the sacrifice had been made.
You can also watch my video review of this book for my BookTube channel here.
A DARKNESS IS IN ALL OF US
Cottage Grove Oregon is a sleepy little town, but in the surrounding forests, an ancient nightmare is growing stronger. Dr. Joseph Hoffman, head psychiatrist at Cottage Grove Hospital, wants to believe he has all the answers to his patients’ problems, but there is a darkness within him that always lurks beneath the thin veneer of his competence. That veneer is about to crack.
In his Victorian home at the edge of the forest, his troubled memories hide in untouched rooms under a thick blanket of dust. He thinks he has them under his control, but as he delves into his patients’ twisted stories, the shadows of their insanity begin to follow him home. In order to see what is happening to him, Joseph must turn everything he knows about his past, and his reality, upside down.
As he gets closer to discovering the source of the malevolence that surrounds him, he feels his sanity slipping away. Joseph must uncover the truth before it consumes him. Something terrible is taking over, and he may be the only one who can figure out why.
Following the increasingly stressful daily life of Dr. Joseph Hoffman, as he struggles to suppress the painful memories of his late wife and tries to help his patients deal with their own troubled minds, Truth of the Shadows paints a picture of a world where everyone is dealing with various degrees of insanity. Often, Dr. Hoffman finds his patients stuck in a look of their own pasts, reliving the same delusions again and again, and to prove the point that doctors make the worst patients, he is unable to see his own unfortunate loop.
The darkness and dread in the story is well built. There is a rich background to the origin of the evil that is tormenting Dr. Hoffman and his patients. At times, the repetition of his daily routine did become a bit of a drag, however the pace quickly ramps up when he finally begins to believe what his patients are telling him. Truth of the Shadows by itself is an enjoyable book to read, but it is a reading experience for the 21st Century. Including an online virtual reality experience with every paperback copy wherein readers can go on to read Dr. Hoffman’s own medical notes and patients evaluations, as well as personal received and sent emails – lending a truth to this fictional story that was not expected and promising more from the story of Cottage Grove. As well as this, for the lucky few who have the limited edition hardback copy, they also have access to a dramatic musical score to accompany the book composed by the author, Slade Templeton, himself.
One point I did like about this book is the underlying message of hope for those in the throes of grief or depression. The novel ends on a hopeful note that leaves the characters with a better understanding of their own minds and hopefully the tools to break their unhealthy loops.
All in all Truth of the Shadows is a dark, paranormal novel that ends on a note of fiction, and thanks to the ingenious extras, continues off the page.
About the Author –
Slade Templeton is a Switzerland-based, American-born musician, record producer, and published fiction author, living and working in Bern. Since a very young age, he has had a passion for anything dark, including art, music, and film. As he often produced piano concerts and recitals for his family at the age of five, titling the pieces “The Storm” and “Nighttime Fairytale,” to name a few, it was destined that his world of music and storytelling eventually intertwined. Having written stories with grandiose plots and twists since a young age, he planned to write novels one day.
Truth of the Shadows became his first.
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