This is a Kindle Unlimited book and I read it for free. OK, I pay for the subscription to Kindle Unlimited, but you get the idea. It was on my TBR shelf for a while because I was in my genre switching mode.
An additional, secondary title of A Gripping Psychological Thriller attracted me to this book. I expect the author to make me think as I consider the more twisted part of a mind bent away from the norm of societal codes. There is a fast start with two young people, Timmy and Sarah, escaping from what might be a house of horror, compounded by an accident that leaves one dead and the other mute as a result of trauma. Right away, I want to know what went on in that house, ostensibly an orphanage, that caused one of its staff members help the kids escape.
We immediately jump from 1987 to a 2014 (we know this because dates serve as chapter titles) mental hospital where a cannibalistic patient is scheduled for transfer to another facility. His penchant for eating the hospital staff as well as his gigantic size dictate a ten-person guard detail while the giant cannibal is in transit. Psychological thriller and mental hospital, OK, that tracks.
The Night of the Mosquito by Max China
Now we go to a guy living alone who just wants to read a book he discovered inadvertently in a second hand book shop. No author recognition, but the book is about the work of a former colleague/mentor of his who worked with gifted patients, those with seemingly paranormal abilities. Then our reader gets bitten or stung by an abnormally large sized mosquito, or at least a relative of a mosquito. OK, a nod to the psychological thriller idea, but I really want to see China (the author) tie this mosquito into anything.
Back to Timmy, twenty-seven years after the escape, still mute, working as a caretaker at the same orphanage he escaped from. He really just wanted to be near where his sister’s physical body was buried. There are hints her ghost is still active. OK, supports a possible psychological angle. Timmy may be more disturbed than we think.
Meanwhile, back at the transfer facility that is awaiting the giant cannibal patient known as Wolfe, a new doctor arrives. Dr. Kotlas is new to the facility but has a history in the treatment of Wolfe; that is why the new facility wanted to hire Kotlas. New boss Dr. Rubenstein has some issues of medical ethics with Kotlas, but is glad to have his experience. Everything still tracking for a psychological thriller.
Then chaos as an environmental event happens that has the effect of an electromagnetic pulse disruption of all communication and other computer powered devices, to include cars. Wolfe escapes while in transit. Lots of the guards accompanying Wolfe die, some to become lunch for Wolfe. Doctors at copse Hall are expecting Wolfe and escorts, but events there degenerate rapidly due to a riot. It seems some of the patients there also desire human meat; some even begin having sex with their food before proceeding to the main course.
Scenes now shift from town to mental health facility to wherever Wolfe is hiding. The novel takes a more dystopian theme; how are we going to survive this? A wise, all knowing professor appears who calms panic stricken crowds with science lessons.
The novel proceeds at a steady pace. It seems that as characters meet Wolfe, they take turns dying. This goes on from about the middle of the novel to the end. The methods of death inflicted by Wolfe become more gruesome and graphic. Sex becomes a bit more graphic.
Without revealing the end, some of the not-to-be-named characters reappear; they come back to life. This is reincarnation by author, not some paranormal force. Not all of them return, but some. The last few lines are cloying sentiment.
In the authors notes at the end, China says this is a mixture of crime, mystery, and psychological thriller. Crime, yes, mystery, yes, psychological thriller, no. The character Ryan is never developed and that is where the psychological thriller possibilities reside. This is an interesting action thriller with lots of unrealized possibilities.