I love horror novels. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise considering I rave about the brilliantness that is Stephen King every chance I get, but the gore and then general screwed-up-ness is not why I love King’s work. It’s his ability to instill fear with very few words. Ironic, I know, since most of his books are about 900 pages long.
I was desensitized at a very young age, thanks to cable TV and the fact that my parents sleep like the dead. In the middle of the night when most little girls were dreaming about princes and the ultimate wedding I was sneaking out of my room and watching episodes of “Tales from the Crypt.” I loved the rush that the fear afforded me. Adrenaline is my drug of choice. (You should see the crap I do when I’m bored.)
Anyways, the older I got (and the more inappropriate TV that I watched) the more it took for me to hide behind my splayed fingers and pray to God a scene would end quickly. As a matter of fact…I don’t think I’ve done that in at least 10 years. Why? Because I’ve moved past the fear of make believe and have dive bombed into the blatant fears of reality that books bring to life.
Why is any of this relevant to a psychological thriller that skirts the boundaries of mystical fiction? Because MP McDonald, much like Mr. King was able to manipulate a few well chosen words and send them shooting shock-waves of dread and impending horror through my system.
Don’t believe me? Ok, I’ll share it with you, but first…the synopsis.
“Mark Taylor discovers first hand that no good deed goes unpunished when the old camera he found during a freelance job in an Afghanistan bazaar gives him more than great photos. It triggers dreams of disasters. Tragedies that happen exactly as he envisions them. He learns that not only can he see the future, he can change it. Then the unthinkable happened and everyone ignored his frantic warnings. Thousands die. Suddenly, the Feds are pounding on his door and the name they have for Taylor isn’t urban hero. It’s enemy combatant. And, it means they can do anything they want to him. Anything at all.”
Alright, now that I’ve gotten the business aspect of this review out of the way (stupid synopsis, you stunted my groove!) How about I share with you the words that generated a fist sized lump in my throat.
“Mark’s apprehension escalated when he noticed some odd features in the room. Eye rings jutted up from the floor and the cement sloped down towards a rusty drain. A wood table with six chairs took up the far wall. Five of the chairs looked like they had been pulled from offices. One was straight-backed and wooden. He had no doubt which one was meant for him.”
See what I mean? Zero gore. Zero guts. Only a few words and the promise of something horrifying to come. This passage (which by the way is only one of several passages that convey they same sort of appaling future) only speaks to the amazing writing ability that McDonald possesses.
But…rusty drains and eye rings aside, there was another aspect to this story that completely floored me. The magical, disaster predicting camera side of the story.
When I first decided to read “No Good Deed” I was expecting an A-typical psychological thriller. (Which for the record I have been craving lately) Yes, there was mention of a “camera that triggers dreams of disasters” but I had no idea it would turn out to be a camera that actually triggers dreams of disasters! Silly me, I thought it was just a poetic way of being vague. And…if I had known that this story was not only based on the ugly side of governmental reality (I’ll let you roll those words around in your head for a minute until you figure out what they mean *cough* Guantanamo Bay-ish *cough*) I have a feeling I wouldn’t have been so hung up on the very first sentence of this book. (Which I read approximately 15 different times, on 15 different occasions when attempting to start the novel.)
The sentence (just so I can get it out of the way for you)
“The baby floated face down in the tub.”
See why I had a hard time getting past it?
As dissimilar as these two very unique elements were (suspected terrorist vs magical camera) I was genuinely surprised by how well they worked together. Even better…I was surprised by how utterly enthralled I became in the actions and reactions the two elements provoked in each-other. And for a plot that could have gotten wildly out of hand because of these two varying circumstances, it actually read as a very streamlined well thought out plot, all the way down to it expertly executed characters.
Are there pieces of the story where you will have to suspend reality for the sake of fiction? Of course…but that’s what good writing does, it makes your imagination run wild.
This one might be a tad tough to read in parts, but I think is well worth the money. At the end of the day, it was a great read.
Thriller and action junkies welcome. Romance and paranormal fanatics need not apply.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Treasure your life, you never know when it might be threatened.
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