Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"The Requiem Red" by Brynn Chapman

The Requiem Red
by Brynn Chapman

The Requiem Red by Brynn Chapman is currently on tour with Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Life for Patient Twenty-Nine is full of medicated day dreaming of a life outside the walls of the walls of Soothing Hills Asylum.
But fantasies are not all that consume her.
A monster roams the halls of the sanatorium she reluctantly calls home.
Three girls have been found dead.
The dead girls share one common thread ... each was Twenty-Nine’s roommate.
As the investigation gets under way, Twenty-Nine retreats into her mind, listening to the voices that call to her. She is endowed with the cursed gift of perception. Through it, she hears messages carried upon the notes of music, discerns words hidden among the strokes of paintings, and minds pleadings for help from the corn field outside.
Could the key to the murders lie within Patient Twenty-Nine’s broken mind?
Mason, an orderly, sees Twenty-Nine as a woman, not a lunatic. As his belief in her grows, so does her self-confidence. The possibility of one day leaving the asylum seems less and less like a fantasy.
But the monster has other plans for Twenty-Nine. Leaving will not be so easy. At least, not while she's alive.

Chapter 1
1894, Soothing Hills Sanatorium
Philadelphia, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
"Jane! Jane, where are you? There has been an accident!"
Nurse Sally's tremulous voice echoes down the sanatorium's hallway, ricocheting off the walls like mad bats in flight. I close my eyes, press my lips tight, and keep silent.
"Patient Twenty-Nine!"
I flinch at the use of my patient number and slide from the hidden window seat, snapping my book closed to bound down the corridor. The nurse's cry came from the direction of my room.
"Twenty-niiiine ..." a male, sing-song voice calls out through the bars. I swerve and dart out of his way, narrowly missing those yellowed, grasping fingernails. My heartbeat doubles as I spin and run faster.
What has she done now?
My roommate Lily is truly disturbed. I spend most of my time out of the room, out of her way, because of her howling, because of her —
I round the corner and skid to a halt, instantaneously shaking.
Lily's long blond hair spreads out on her cot like a coquette's fan. Her eyes are closed. Her chest appears ... still.
"Jane, go for help. Now. Run to Ward 4 and fetch Dr. Grayjoy!"
I stand staring, blood frozen in my veins, feet frozen to the floor. Lily's head gives a violent jerk, and I gasp.
"For the love of heaven, now, you imbecile!"
I run. But not before I see the wall. Not before I see the message scrawled above her bed.
Help me. I know not what I do.
[Want more? Click here and use the "Look inside" feature on Amazon to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Exquisitely written! Requiem Red is a haunting tale of monsters, music, insanity, and the power of love where one least expects to find it." ~ Darynda Jones, author, First Grave On the Right
"... a very entertaining read that won't let you go." ~ Kourtni R.
"I have no words! This was just damned awesome! I can't wait for everyone to read it! And I need book 2 now!" ~ Jaime (Two Chick on Books)
"Jaunty writing, unique setting, one-of-a-kind plot, and unusual circumstances. What's not to love? Need more reasons to pick up this book? An asylum, rare medical conditions, antiquated psychological practices, underground tunnels, ravens. As an added bonus, a Scottish guy and a young, capable, very attractive doctor. The Requiem Red. You should read it." ~ Emily

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
The year is 1894. Welcome to the Soothing Hills Sanatorium, Philadelphia, where Patient Twenty-Nine (whose real name is Jane) has been an inmate her whole life. Her affliction? She hears voices and sees colors in music. Throughout her stay, women have mysteriously disappeared, most of them being Jane's roommates. Could she be responsible for their disappearance, or is she herself in danger? We are introduced to a cast of interesting characters: Mason, the new orderly; kind Dr Grayjoy; the mysterious Dr Cloud; sadistic Dr Frost; his nineteen-year-old daughter Jules, whose mother died when she was young; and Maeve, her governess. But what really happened to Jules's mother, and who is the little girl Jules remembers from her childhood?
This book is part love story, part mystery, part Gothic horror story, but becomes more and more paranormal as the story progresses. The author skilfully captures the speech, mannerisms, and atmosphere of the time. However, I found the plot to be predictable and had it all worked out very shortly into the book. Nevertheless, the author manages to maintain suspense with the quick pace and the uncertainty as to how things will be resolved. Alternating chapters and passages are told from Jane's and Jules's points-of-view. However, some chapters/passages are labelled and some are not, making it very difficult to follow the story. Things are further complicated when the author introduces some passages from the points-of-view of Dr Grayjoy and Mason. With all this switching of viewpoints, the timeline doesn't quite work on some occasions, with characters seemingly being in two places at once from one scene to the next. There are also some inconsistencies with the ward numbers changing from time to time.
Warning: This book ends on a massive cliffhanger even though there is no indication that this book is the first in a series.

About the Author
Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love - not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.
She also writes under the pseudonym R. R. Smythe.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies of The Requiem Red by Brynn Chapman (open internationally).