I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The year is 1935 and the story is set in Prague and the nearby Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The primary characters are the young psychiatrist Viktor Kosárek and Prague Police investigator Lukas Smolak.
Kosárek has just taken the position at the Hrad Orlu Asylum to pursue his theory of the ‘Devil Aspect’. His patients at Hrad Orlu Asylum are the countries most infamous six killers, all deemed insane. He begins his treatments and is disturbed at what he discovers. He also finds himself attracted to the young Judita Blochová the chief administrator at Hrad Orlu Asylum.
A serial killer known as Leather Apron has been operating in Prague and the police have no clue as to who it might be. Investigator Smolak has been working hard to track down the killer, but thus far has few leads. Filip Starosta is Kosárek’s friend from university but he seems to be getting more and more distant and erratic in his behavior. As hard as it is for Kosárek to believe, he begins to have concerns for his friend’s sanity. Kosárek is also hearing strange things from his patients while they are heavily drugged and under treatment. He begins to believe there is an evil there among the patients beyond their simple insanity.
I thought that the 11.5 hours I spent reading this 410-page horror/mystery were interesting. The plot was interesting to me, but I found the story to be a bit slow. It is a very dark story with a touch of the supernatural. I did like the unexpected plot twist at the end of the novel. The chosen cover art is OK, but I think something closer to the story would have been better. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.
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