Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Book Review: You Know Who I Am by Kevin Akstin

In this nightmarish novella by author Kevin Akstin the thin veil between sanity and insanity is examined through the eyes of a man who can’t quite seem to tell the difference.

Description: An unnamed man, in an unnamed city, knows something horrendous is happening. Through the warped sliver of twilight between dreams and waking he chases a killer who may or may not exist. His circular journey will force him to reckon with both his traumatic past and his nightmarish present. In a world where identities change and merge with the logic of a dream, and the murky faces seen through rain and fog may not be human at all, there are no entrances and no exits – only an inevitable progression toward the terrifying truth.

You Know Who I Am immediately immerses you into the noir-like atmosphere of a grimy, unnamed city where our protagonist lives. The bleak atmosphere of the story is all dark shadows, distorted cityscapes and rainy weather that never seems to cease. The dark world where the action takes place perfectly mirrors the main character’s clouded psyche. Though we see the world through the main character’s eyes, we never learn very much about him except for a few key childhood memories towards the end of the book. I really liked how the author kept him cloaked in mystery from the reader, because that just kept me reading to find out more about him! I also wanted to find out just who he was following (though it becomes pretty obvious as the book moves along who the villain’s true identity is) and what horrible crimes the mysterious killer that haunts the city will commit next.

This is a mindf*ck of a novel and I could barely rip my eyes away from the text because I so desperately wanted to find out just what was going on. The ending doesn’t leave you with any concrete conclusion or much of an explanation, but like a nightmare you strive to remember, it leaves you with a feeling of unease and dread. The whole novel seems like one big dream you just can’t seem to wake up from.

The nightmarish images of melting faces, dreary cityscapes, gutted corpses and the blur of a cold metropolis sliding by set the grim tone of the novella. As far as I can tell this is author Kevin Akstin’s debut and it is definitely a memorable one!

Check out You Know Who I Am on Amazon!

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