This book is not at all what I expected- in a good way. The timing was right to read it, I was between books, and it happened to be a good filler. I cannot stress how happy I am that I did not turn down an offer to read “The Dark Net”.
Imagine a world that is completely dependent (obsessed? focused? infatuated?) with media. Whether it be computers, iPhone, YouTube, texts, TV, etc. On average, a person looks at their phone 8 times an hour. A possession would be effortless.
Percy introduces a new possession- not “The Exorcist”, no zombies, because pft, zombies at this point are overrated. No, no. Demons. Demons hiding in the dark (bare with me!) Demons interlaced in the Dark Net- the uncovered black market of the world wide web. It’s here that anonymous monsters roam; human trafficking, drugs, illegal movies and music, all without leaving your home. With a code, and just one look at a device, a demon can take possession and control you.
Thankfully, with a lot of dark, comes a little light. Throughout time, there has (and always will be) a light that balances the dark. People that are “on the spectrum”; be it mediums, or people who recognize a shadow that may not belong. Readers are introduced to one of them right in the prologue of the book. Hannah; a teenager who has gradually become blind due to retinitis pigmentosa. Because this was an accelerated case with no cure, Hannah was offered an experimental treatment. Mirage fits like a virtual reality visor. Video images are captured by a camera and delivered to the eye by electrical impulses. Being in the dark for years has made Hannah dependent on other senses, so when she starts seeing images with a black veil attached to them, she’s confused.
Others in the book report the truth; in different ways of course. There’s Lela, Hannah’s aunt, who writes for the newspaper office. Lela’s first big story was of Jeremy Tusk, a serial killer at the Rue apartments. Tusk was an avid collector of rare books inked in blood and bound in human flesh. What most did not see at the time, was that Tusk was just a husk; a shell of a human inhabited by a demon.
The Rue apartments is what centers around this story. Tusk was not the building’s only problem. The history goes back to the mid 1800’s, when 10 lumbermen were found dead. All of them were “naked, some hung from trees by their intestines, others laid in mud, limbs cut off and mixed up sewn in the wrong places or the wrong body”. Legends of 5 shadow people who take “bites out of the sun until there is no light left.” From there, during the construction of the building 3 laborers died from a steel beam collapsing. A girl disappeared from her bedroom in the middle of the night, never to return. A fire swarmed the building killing three families. A maintenance man hung himself. A husband killed his wife and then himself. Evil lurks here. The building IS evil.
Mike Juniper was a light that was consumed by darkness. Years ago, Mike was Timmy Milton. A normal 6 year old boy playing in the lake, until a canoe smacked him on the back of the head rendering him unconscious. Upon waking up he kept telling his parents what they wanted to hear: yes, I saw Jesus. There was a light. The book “Heavenly Visitors” was based on the lies Timmy told his parents, which led to a “tour” of sorts to congregation and “laying of hands” circles. There is a common thread in every single gathering: a figure in the crowd that no one else could see. A figure that appeared at the bottom of his bed:
The figure left a mark on him leaving cancer. Timmy turned down chemo, changed his name, took all of his money and donated on a cross country trip leaving him in Portland with a woman who can see the dark and extracted it out of him.
This misshapen crew is the key to drawing out the darkness and destroying it.
I cannot even begin to tell you how absolutely spellbinding Percy’s writing is. The prologue is too eloquently written to make you put the book down, and with each turn of the page the excitement builds. With each character introduction, and backstory, and main story line, there is never a dull moment.
I will admit, going from the prologue right into the story, I was unsure how everything was going to tie together. Towards the end, Percy wraps up the story like a neatly wrapped Christmas package, bow included. My ONLY complaint, was that the story built to an apex, and then flat lined. Don’t get me wrong, the story line was clear, I see exactly where it went (is going?) Maybe I became greedy, and just didn’t want to give up this book, and the end was a bit of a let down. But can you blame me? When you read a REALLY good book, it’s natural to not want to let go.
End result, I may have to add Benjamin Percy to my “authors to watch” list, for the prose alone.
I was directly contacted by the publicity department of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to receive an advanced copy of “The Dark Net” by Benjamin Percy in exchange for a review. That being said, it has not altered my opinion of the book.