The Only Child
by Andrew Pyper
Lily Dominick lives for her job. As a child, she was touched by the horror of having witnessed her mother’s murder. One thing that keeps her up some nights though, was the reason why the murderer left her unscathed.
Despite that traumatic event in her life, she grew up to be an intelligent woman; independent and determined. But there’s a dark side in her that feeds her drive to understand the patients — clients that she encounters day in and day out at Kirby. A psychiatric facilty that houses the most demented, depraved serial killers and murderers.
One of those clients was a recently arrested beguiling man who had some stories to tell. He claimed to know her before she was even born. He claimed to have done what he’s done if only to get close to her. Even more shocking was his claim that he knew her mother. Then he dropped the mother of all revelations by claiming he was her father.
Meeting “Michael” for the first time reminded me of a scene in Silence of the Lambs where Clarisse sparred with one psychopath named Hannibal Leckter. But Michael was incomparable to the famous cannibal. For one, when he’s not playing human he was a winged, clawed supernatural monster of sorts. What he is precisely is hard to tell. But he’s highly intelligent, indestructible, and possesses the kind of unmatched cruelty amongst serial killers in history. He’s also two centuries old – give or take.
Michael is also a cunning, manipulative monster. Dangling a proverbial carrot for Lily was his favourite. First, was his claim that he knew her mother. And then it was the knowledge that he was her father. There was something about Lily that yearns for this man. Both as a child to a father and in some ways, sexual, morbidly enough. In the end, I never knew which part of her longed for Michael the most. But either way, it neither was normal.
Throughout the story, readers will discover all the ways that Pyper derived from three well-known gothic classics. He seamlessly worked Michael’s character in the creation of the 19th-century horror fiction triumvirate. And as Lily continues her pursuit of the elusive Michael, she’ll piece together her mother’s life and death. All the while encountering a group of assassins who are also on Michael’s trail. This book never lacked for suspense; I flew through the pages like I was also in pursuit.
The Only Child was exactly what you would expect from Andrew Pyper. It’s a very dark fantasy littered with dead bodies and violence. The lure of the three horror classics was irresistible. But in the end, Pyper’s spin was even more incredible.