Henry, like all of us, carries his past with him. But Henry’s past has teeth and have drawn blood already. It will draw blood again.
When Henry was a child, something happened in the words behind his home. Something so awful, so horrible, that he shut the event inside of himself, never to see the light of day again. The only way he lets the horrible memory out is to paint.
But Henry is not just painting. He is painting against the darkness.
Twenty years have passed since that horrible event and Henry still paints. He spends more and more time in front of his easel, letting the art of painting take him away to a place that only Henry knows.
But the darkness waits for no one. During a winter storm, Henry goes down to the cellar in his old stone farm house to fill the steam boiler. As he descends into the cellar, Henry has no idea that he is about to come face to face with the darkness he has been carrying with him for the past twenty years.
And the darkness is hungry…
There are not enough words to describe how truly good The Painted Darkness by Brian James Freeman is. Excellent, stupendous, enthralling? Not good enough. Amazing, incredible, thrilling? Not even close. Nothing can really describe The Painted Darkness, you have to read and experience it for yourself.
When I first got my advance readers copy of the novel, I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting very much. The book seemed so slim, too slim, really, to be called a novel. But I was wrong, so wonderfully wrong.
It was as I was reading the superb introduction by Brian Keene that I realized I might be in for a treat. Keene called Freeman an artist. And there is no truer word to describe Freeman. I would even go so far as to call him a master of his art.
Though The Painted Darkness is only 179 pages or so, the beauty of the words make the novel feel twice as thick. The power behind the words, their seemingly simple prose, pull the reader in to the ride of a lifetime and leave the reader wanting more.
Everything about this book is spectacular. The wonderful introduction by Brian Keene and the fabulously creepy illustrations by Jill Bauman really help to capture the tone of the novel, the gorgeous cover that pull you into the story.
But it is the novel itself, Henry’s story, that really packs a punch. Alternating between the present and the event that happened twenty years ago, Freeman has crafted a Lovecraftian tale of horror that is never what we think it will be and leaves us wanting so much more.
The Painted Darkness goes beyond being just a good book. It is a great book, a fantastic book, meant to be devoured and then read again so one can savour it and every well placed, beautiful word. Brian James Freeman has written what is most likely the best book of the year.
The Painted Darkness is a novel that captures first the mind, then the heart and taps into our worst fears with gusto. It’s an incredibly well written novel that anyone and everyone should read and experience.
And remember, don’t just paint. Paint against the darkness…