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"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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When you get into this book, don’t try to make sense of it right away, and do give it a chapter to grow on you. Like fog over a lake on a summer morning, the confusion and grief clears away. It turns into an adventure through the afterlife that is well worth reading.
Our narrator begins as a soul lost in a torrent of grief, and then one small set of eyes brings him back into an existence of understanding. That’s when he meets The Regulars.I love this cast of misfit souls so much. There is River, a solemn woman who awoke in the after life at the edge of a river. (She’s the one who got the Horror Made fan art treatment today). There’s “The Boy” who takes a liking to our narrator and decides to train him in the ways of the Regulars. There’s the group’s leader, a massive bearded man called Louis. And then, there’s the one who gives you the heebie-jeebies right away, Mr. Cage. He seems more like a vicious spider than a man, and he’s quickly one you start to fear- although the reason why doesn’t become clear until the end.
This group has kind of a Beetlejucie vibe to them. As their main source of entertainment seems to be scaring the living daylights out of living people. We don’t linger in that routine too long though, because our narrator is a good soul. One that hungers for answers. How can I protect The Boy from The Regulars? What happened to me? How did I die? Was I killed?
Through his journey to protect his new young friend, he finds his path. One little breadcrumb of a clue at a time that leads him down a spiraling rabbit hole of the recently deceased, and the clues that lead him to the final answers.
As I enjoyed with Paris’s “The Skull Collector” the narrator’s journey through the world feels surreal and abstract in a poetic way. Where this book differs is that, as time goes on, we get a clearer and more concrete understanding of the world by the end. My one criticism is that in that last few pages there’s a character that spells everything that happened out, clearing up most of the lingering questions. I didn’t like that because it felt a little pandering after all of the faith the reader was given along the way to piece together the clues. However– it was also nice to have some of those big “what the heck?!” questions explained plainly- in particular what the deal was with Mr. Cage.
Now that’s a character I’d love to read more about. He’s one freeeeeaaaaaaky dude.
Ah, but what a delicious mystery
What I loved most about this book was the mystery of our narrator’s death and how the clues unfolded. The journey surprised me, kept me guessing, and kept me incredibly entertained the whole way through.