Author Philip Henry
Johnny Knox was that high school kid that every one knew, and no one actively disliked, but no one was friends with. Students are surprised when he dies, in what is first called a suicide and is later deemed natural causes, but life goes on pretty much as normal. Normal that is for everyone except for Steve Norton who has a terrifying experience shortly after the death that makes him realize that there was nothing 'natural' about the cause. In time he finds a few others, outcasts for the most part, that have also had run ins with this monster. Now only a small handful of teenagers stand between something from out of this world and a school full of unsuspecting victims.
Mind's Eye is told from the perspective of Steve as an adult, looking over the audio recordings and notes he made as a high school aged aspiring journalist. The result is uncanny and unnerving. As much as this is a full fledged horror story it is also a very gripping coming of age story. Philip Henry tackles those tempestuous years of high school, years which I think are the hardest for adults to remember with any real accuracy. But Henry does it perfectly. As enthralled as I was with the story- while I'm being honest, I have to admit that I stayed up all night and read it cover to cover with no break- I was equally sucked into reminiscing. Mind's Eye made me remember all the little details of growing up that I had forgotten about, the insecurities, the failures, the adults that just couldn't be made to understand. I don't know that I've seen an author capture that age during that time period so well.
While some readers may find the ending a little abrupt or the book almost too straight forward (there is very little mystery in Mind's Eye, you know who or what the bad guy is pretty much right from the start) true horror junkies will find much to love. The tension starts right at the beginning and builds subtly straight through to the end keeping you reading to find out what will happen next. Surprisingly, the humor laced throughout the book only adds to the tension. Steve Norton, his friends, and enemies ring so true you can't help but feel a connection to them. These are no high school stereotypes brought to life, the characters are well developed and as sex obsessed and wise cracking as the real thing.
A lot of horror stories are held up and compared to the master, Stephen King. Mind's Eye did put me in mind of the early works of King, or Peter Straubs' The Hellfire Club, but it definitely stood on its own. This is no imitation. It is pure unadulterated horror at its finest and it made me a Philip Henry fan in one sitting.
The above review was contributed by: Renee Mallett: Published journalist, reviewer, and creative writer. Freelance editor: Author of several non-fiction books. To read more of Renee's reviews CLICK HERE