Top positive review
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strange, dark, psychological horror.
on November 19, 2012
Greg Summers is nothing special. Very little about his life could be classified as extraordinary. His job, while stable, isn't leading him on the path to fame and fortune. His marriage to his beautiful wife Jennifer is also stable but a little on the tame side. The only excitement he's been wringing from his existence is a torrid affair with the sultry Georgina. He knows it's wrong but as long as he can maintain his happily stable marriage and keep loving his wife, he feels he's doing ok.
Then things start to change and spiral out of control. He makes a reservation at a hotel with his mistress only to find that the name he gave the concierge isn't in the register. Surely some mistake? That in and of itself isn't so bad but it's when he returns home only to be confronted by the fact that his wife Jennifer doesn't recognize him and is in fact living with and married to another man by the EXACT same name as he that things start to go downhill, and fast. The man that claims to be Jennifer's true husband is anything but. It's something....other. His situation isn't helped when memories of a man name Jameson start to invade his psyche...and the results of these unwanted memories lead him to bouts of extreme agony. Greg Summers is hell bent on finding the answers and as he goes down the rabbit hole, he's not going to like what he finds.
"If I'm not me, then who the hell am I?"
That's a quote from Total Recall which happens to be based on 'We'll Remember It For You Wholesale' by the late, great Phillip K. Dick. Cuckoo is that type of story. It's a story about a man who's prodding along, doing the day to day, only to find out that his life may or may not be a complete fabrication. It also happens to be aptly named. Told through Greg's perspective, Wright brings the reader along on a wild ride into madness. Where does Greg Summers end and Richard Jameson start? Why can't he remember anything? Why is some malevolent outside force focused on making him suffer? Is he going crazy or is he completely sane? Will someone PLEASE believe him?!? Because of the close perspective and Wright's lyrical writing style, you'll feel the ebb and flow of Greg Summer's psyche shattering as his questions only lead to more questions.
I'm not terrified by horror novels. I've been grossed out, disturbed, and disgusted by them, but never truly frightened. I wasn't 'scared' by Cuckoo but I will say that there was a certain creeping dread that I felt during certain passages of the book. There are several sequences when the anxiety Greg Summers feels reached off the page and ran its icy fingers down my back. Write is very good at sucking you into the story and making you feel the characters dread and confusion and fear.
Featuring disturbing imagery and the frantic thoughts of main character as he experiences them, Cuckoo is dark and sinister. There are no happy endings here. Write tortures his characters and he does it well. He's a great voice in the world of horror. He does get a little verbose at times and the ending goes into some weird territory but those are minor quibbles. The former is his style and the latter is oftentimes the nature of this type of horror story. Not everything is always clearly answered but that's ok. The story is satisfying and it's different.