Book Reviews

{ Review} The Disembodied by Anthony Hains

The Disembodied by Anthony Hains
Published by Kindle Press on 8.16.16
Genres: Crime, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Psychological Horror
Pages: 316
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Thirteen-year-old Griffin Rinaldi seems like a normal kid. He plays basketball at the Y and he’s just learning to talk to girls. But Griffin doesn’t feel normal. He’s been diagnosed with Depersonalization Disorder—he feels disconnected from his body, and at times, he doesn’t know if he’s dead or alive. And it seems to be getting worse.

Following the brutal death of his abusive father, Griffin is haunted by a red-haired kid only he can see and who wants him to do things he doesn’t understand. Griffin's only sources of support are his grandfather, Soren - a regional author of Outer Banks ghost stories - and his same-aged cousin, Tanner, a boy coping with his own troubled life.

When a rare blizzard strikes the Outer Banks, Griffin recognizes the red-haired boy as a vengeful specter from Soren's tales. To make matters worse, his well-meaning aunt has convinced his mother he’s under some sort of spiritual attack. Unsure if the mysterious boy is a symptom of his disorder or an entity with evil intent, Griffin finds himself in a struggle to save his life, his sanity and maybe his very soul.

The Disembodied starts out like a coming-of-age story and then it turns into a psychological horror story of familial love and abuse that will keep you guessing to the very end!

Griffin is a boy on the verge of becoming a man, when he loses his father to a somewhat violent death. Luckily he has a sweet and caring grandfather that loves to spend time with him, and a close cousin to hang out with. Unfortunately, he is experiencing feelings of what his psychologist calls depersonalization disorder, but Griffin describes it as feeling like he isn’t attached to his own body. His mom is worried, and his aunt is convinced he’s possessed. So which is it? You’ll have to read this book to find out!

The characters here were well developed. I really got to caring for Griffin and Tanner and I quickly got to the point where I couldn’t care less what happened to either of their fathers. I think the best part of this story was its telling. The author did a great job of releasing bits of information steadily along the way which kept me interested and looking forward to whatever was going to happen next. A few of the twists I did guess, but I did not accurately predict where this tale was going to go, and I always love when that happens.

Even as a seasoned fan of horror, there were parts of this book that seriously disturbed me. Mr. Hains is a psychologist himself, which is probably why the bits about depersonalization disorder rang so true. However, there were certain characters that behaved very differently from what I would expect, (like Griffin’s mom, for instance), and thinking about why she did what she did added a layer of sadness to this tale. I guess it’s a sad truth that sometimes we like to bury our heads in the sand rather than face what’s happening right in front of us.

Overall, The Disembodied was an excellent psychological horror tale, and even though it involved tweens, this is not a YA story, in my opinion. There are some ugly, ugly truths here and incidents of abuse that made even this horror fan cringe. That said, this book was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the mysteries as they unraveled.  I think you would too! Highly recommended!

*I nominated this book for the Kindle Scout program back in the day, and when it was accepted and the book published, I was given a free copy with no strings attached. All of the opinions expressed in this review are my own.*

About Anthony Hains

Anthony Hains was born and raised in Port Chester, New York. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology from the University of Notre Dame. He is currently a professor of counseling psychology. He is married with one daughter and lives in Wisconsin.

When he and his wife became empty nesters, he found himself with something called “time.” He started pursuing a long-time dream of writing horror fiction. While he still has his day job teaching courses on counseling children and adolescents and cognitive behavior therapy and conducting research on cognitive and behavioral factors related to adherence problems in teenagers with type 1 diabetes, he manages to fit in some fiction writing during off hours. The result has been sheer enjoyment and a few short stories and novellas which he hopes will see the light of day.

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