A Place for Sinners

A Place for Sinners - Aaron Dries
A Place for Sinners is one of those novels. You know the type. When about 50% of what you read is incredible, and the other half is so disappointingly frustrating that you're left completely confused as to how to rate such a wildly variable book...

Starting with an extended flashback that explains main character Amity's deafness and building through a fantastic sequence where she and her brother travel through exotic Thailand, A Place For Sinners at times left me stunned with the power of its prose and vividness of its imagery. Having recently traveled to Thailand, I also found myself smiling and nodding along with many of Dries' descriptions of what awaits the casual tourist there. Meanwhile, a seriously deranged woman is carving a bloody path toward Amity and her brother, and I thought I was in for a gore-drenched battle for survival on a remote island somewhere off the coast of Thailand.

Well, I was technically right.

The second half of Dries' novel throws some major curve-balls the reader's way, with imagination and reality blending into one almost-incoherent mess. No less than four of the major characters who reach the island are revealed to have major psychological issues ranging from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to Dissociative Identity Disorder, to just being a flat out delusional psychotic with sociopathic tendencies. Of course, every POV from one of these characters' perspectives is infused with the taint of their disorder, to the point where narrative flow and logical sequencing are thrown out the side of the rapidly fleeing boat in favour of flashback after hallucination after flashback.

In other words, the plot completely lost me. A sudden introduction of another character comes out of nowhere while the wide-open stories of others are abruptly cut short. I'll admit I was truly surprised at what took place, but not always in a good way.

The violence is extreme and plentiful, if that's the type of thing to attract you/put you off. And little in the way of quarter is offered anyone you may have become (foolishly) attached to. Clearly, Dries is not a forgiving kind of author.

Truth be told, I'm not sure how I'll remember A Place for Sinners. As providing more than a hint of promise regarding an author I came to enjoy? Or as a terrible tease, the potential of which was never lived up to? I guess the only way to find out will be to track down another Dries book and gather further evidence ...

3 Floating Insane Asylums for A Place for Sinners.

The preceding was based on an ebook provided by Samhain Publishing through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/957581344?book_show_action=false