The Broken Ones is a gruesome mix of Science Fiction, Crime, Horror & the Supernatural. The Broken Ones is the latest dark, gripping, chilling supernatural tale from a highly talented internationally acclaimed Australian author.
It’s the near future and the world has descended into chaos. On the surface, everything looks the same yet the unthinkable has happened...the dead have risen. Everyone is haunted by a dead relative, friend, spouse, or stranger, and these spirits are unshakable, silent and watching. No one is safe. Governments the world over fail to deal with the epidemic, they begin to lose control of their economies and their resources. Their people. Crime is rife, and murders commonplace. But who is responsible: the ghosts or the people?
Finding out is where Detective Oscar Mariani comes in, although it’s nearly impossible to run a department when you can’t even see half the suspects. His strike rate is embarrassingly low. Then he stumbles into a case that cuts through his apathy and depression, a case that suggests a ritualistic, brutal serial killer attracted to innocent young women at work and one that, unfortunately for Mariani and his less jaded partner, implicates those in high places. However, if he can solve it, and keep alive himself, he may be able to exorcise his own ghostly shadow, a dead young man who might just have something to say. Mixing police procedural, suspense and horror, Stephen M Irwin's new book is a compelling, knuckle-whitening ride.
©2011 Stephen M. Irwin (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
I'm not sure the summary of this book does it justice. It's more urban fantasy than horror, although it does get quite gruesome in places. Irwin has built a lush, engrossing, dilapidated world and a wonderful ensemble of characters.
To say to much about it is really to spoil it. Because it's gorgeously original on many levels. One of the best books I've listened to all year.
I spent the first third of The Broken Ones resenting it for not being The Dead Path. As The Dead Path is one of my all-time favourite books, it's a very hard act to follow. But Steven Irwin does a good job.
The story is set in a vaguely post-apocalyptic world three years after some kind of a cataclysmic event referred to as Grey Wednesday, following which every person on the planet becomes haunted by a ghost.
The protagonist and central character, Oscar, is a former police officer now working for a division which deals with the Ghosts. Oscar is haunted by his own ghost and by the ghost of what happened on Grey Wednesday, and it takes about half the book before the two threads make sense.
The concept behind the plot is inventive and fresh. The world changes appreciably after Grey Wednesday, and some people cannot handle being haunted by the spectre of someone they loved or hated or had wronged in some way.
The story focuses on a series of bizarre ritualistic killings of disabled children, and the role they play with the hauntings at large. The world depicted is a little bleak, and items we take for granted are units of currency in a world where everything has been devalued. It's probably not unlike living in Russia after the fall of communism.
The narration is well done, and the narrator does a good job of depicting different voices for each person. The different accents are particularly well done, so the narration deserves five stars.
The supernatural element is important and necessary but not overpowering. If you're looking for a horror novel, this isn't it. But if you're looking for something thought-provoking and intelligent and interesting, this is the book for you. Fans of China Mieville should give this one a listen.
Twists and turns
Very good narrator, I found the accent a bit difficult to follow in the beginning but then it grew on me and I enjoyed his voice and the emotion he put into the characters.
Neither laugh or cry, but surprised in several places.
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