Reviewed at request of publisher-Doubleday-ARC.
The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“The Broken Ones” is an extraordinarily complex second novel, well worthy of the author whose debut novel was “The Dead Path.” Set up on an unfailing premise-“Gray Wednesday,” September 10, the day every single living human on the globe was blessed-or cursed-with her or his own specifically individual ghost-the novel delves into the ramifications for economics, government, politics, and society, as well as for individuals, who must come at this each in their own way, and either make peace with the apparitions, or fail to do so. Multi-layered, with a complex set of characters, both primary and secondary, this novel is outstandingly interwoven.
Detective Constable Oscar Mariani and his partner, Detective Constable Neve de Rossa, are the only members of the Nine-Ten Unit, formed three years earlier to sign off on the authenticity of confessions of “the ghost made me do it,” or something similar-cases in which the perpetrator genuinely believed he or she was killing off their personal apparition. The “Barely” Unit, as it is widely and scathingly known, is barely existing, constantly ground under the pressures of attrition, budget downsizing, and Homicide Inspector Haig, a man who is more like the giant spider at the center of a web of bribery, extortion, power, and death, than he is like a Homicide detective. Oscar stumbles on a case of a tortured young girl, carved with arcane symbols, and refuses to relinquish it to Homicide, despite enormous pressure and the requested transfer of Neve. So much more is behind the scenes of this murder, though, and soon Oscar finds himself stalked by the Supernatural.
I highly recommend this novel, which will linger long in the reader’s mind and inhabit reader’s dreams.
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