The Kathy Ryan series by Mary SanGiovanni has fast become one of my favorites You should know that you can absolutely read this book without reading the others in the series Although some of the characters and storylines tie together, the books work as standalones Inside the Asylum is a scary read It s edgy and has some scenes that have you looking over your shoulder.
As always, though, I simply love what SanGiovanni does with her characters Human or not each character has so much depth She doesn t do paper cutout villains Oh, her villains are definitely evil and do unforgivable things, but she reminds you that there s a fleeting glimpse of something under the surface In fact, she makes you feel so uncomfortable because you find yourself feeling just a tiny bit of sympathy or liking for them.
I liked what she did with the Tulpas Honestly, Tulpas have never been my favorite baddies Cold as it sounds, I ve always kind of thought Kill the person dreaming them up and you re done But the author makes her Tulpas bigger, scarier, and a lot harder to get rid of Looking forward to the next book in the series ARC Provided via Net Galley From Master Of Cosmic HorrorLibrary Journal Mary SanGiovanni, Comes The Latest Terrifying Novel Featuring Occult Specialist Kathy Ryan A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Destroy Kathy Has Been Hired To Assess The Threat Of Patient Henry Banks, An Inmate At The Connecticut Newlyn Hospital For The Criminally Insane, The Same Hospital Where Her Brother Is Housed Her Employers Believe That Henry Has The Ability To Open Doors To Other Dimensions With His Mind Making Him One Of The Most Dangerous Men In Modern History Because Unbeknownst To Kathy, Her Clients Are Affiliated With Certain Government Organizations That Investigate People Like Henry And The Potential To Weaponize Such Abilities What Kathy Comes To Understand In Interviewing Henry, And In Her Unavoidable Run Ins With Her Brother, Is That Henry Can Indeed Use His Mind To Create Tulpas Worlds, People, And Creatures So Vivid They Come To Actual Life But Now They Want Life Outside Of Henry And They Ll Stop At Nothing To Complete Their Emanicipation It S Up To Kathy With Her Brother S Help To Stop Them, And If Possible, To Save Henry Before The Tulpas Take Him Over And Everything Else Around Him Praise For The Novels Of Mary SanGiovanni SanGiovanni Evokes A Lovecraftian Sensibility In This Action Filled Story Scary, Suspenseful, Smart, And Gory, The Novel Is Also Beautifully Set And DescribedLibrary Journal On Savage Woods A Feast Of Both Visceral And Existential Horror F Paul Wilson On Thrall Filled To The Brim With Mounting Terror Gary A Braunbeck On The Hollower A Fast Building, High Tension Ride James A Moore On The Hollower My review of Inside the Asylum can be found at High Fever books.
Occult specialist Kathy Ryan returns for her third outing in Mary SanGiovanni s latest, Inside the Asylum And yes, I know, the publisher consider this to be the second official Ryan novel, despite her being introduced and playing a central role in 2016 s Chills As far as I m concerned, this is book three And whooboy, do things ever get crazy Things are starting to bleed over from the other side, warping our reality, and at the center of it all is Henry Banks, an inmate at the Connecticut Newlyn Hospital for the Criminally Insane Henry has a special gift, and a rich imagination, which is now causing all sorts of problems for the hospital Inmates who know of Henry s friends his special friends, that is, the ones the doctors and staff think are imaginary are being brutally murdered, but that s just the start of it Henry s friends are tulpas, and they want not only to be free, they want to be alive, and the stronger they get the Henry s imagined world crosses over with ours.
Readers who have been following Ryan since the beginning, that is to say since Chills, will likely recognize the Connecticut Newlyn Hospital for the Criminally Insane as the institution that houses her serial killer cultist brother, Toby In fact, it was this particular aspect that had me most interested in Inside the Asylum I ve been wanting to know about and see of the Ryan s sibling rivalry, and the personal elements of Kathy s history and her relationship to Toby are some of this book s strongest elements SanGiovanni is certainly no slouch when it comes to the supernatural either Henry s tulpas are both highly intriguing and fantastical, but at some points it did get to be a bit much for my tastes As Henry s dream world enmeshes with our own, SanGiovanni describes simple everyday object changing into demonic beasties, and it reminded me a bit too much of the climax to Michael Bay s first Transformers movie, when a shard of the AllSpark started changing random electronics into psychotic robots We even get a familiar riff of this with a demonic soda machine SanGiovanni goes a step further, though, giving us an evil rake, a monstrous couch, and a sentient, walking end table Some of this stuff got to be a little too fantastical for me, even in a story about duplicitous, murderous invisible friends It s also a blessedly minor bit of silliness in a story that otherwise plays it straight When it comes to the killer occult elements and the blending of worlds, SanGiovanni presents a number of terrific flourishes, particularly in the book s latter half when Inside the Asylum grows into a siege story Where Inside the Asylum really shines, though, is its characters and their interactions Beyond Kathy and Toby, we get a vivid portrait of Henry and the traumas he s suffered His tulpas are a direct response to the trials he s faced in his young life and a reaction to his outsider status, and ultimately he shares much the same goal as his creations, which is to simply be allowed to exist A certain romanticism is at play there, and even if it does eventually go completely awry you can t help but feel a bit of sympathy for Henry and the psychological damage that s led him to all this Toby, too, reveals some hidden depths and his interactions with Kathy shows there s room for further exploration given the man s uniquely twisted emotional filters and psychological wiring Kathy and her unusual career have plenty of future potential as well, and I m looking forward to exploring horrors with her as the guide This is a series that has some wonderfully strong legs to it, and with some of the seeds being planted here, I can t help but hope SanGiovanni and Kensington are able to get a few books worth of mileage out of it all There s still plenty stories to be told and all sorts of crazy worlds to explore, on this side of the door and beyond Note I received an advance reading copy of this title from the publisher, Kensington books.
One of the problems that I had with Behind the Door, the 2nd book in the Kathy Ryan series, was that I felt like it was a very on the surface read that didn t enable me to connect with the main character However, Mary SanGiovanni writes tales with ideas that are very hard for me to stay away from, so I figured I d like Inside the Asylum even if the same problem for me persisted.
It didn t.
Mostly this is probably because of the simple fact that this novel involves Ryan s brother, Toby However, it s than that While the inside of Ryan s head is definitely a comfortable place this time around, SanGiovanni made me feel something for a psychopath not saying it s a good something or a bad something , and did it without trodding down a path overgrown with cliches Kind of amazing There are other connections made with characters in the book, but those I will leave for the reader to discover.
I mentioned earlier that she writes tales with ideas that are very hard for me to stay away from As a child that created fantastical worlds inside her head to escape from things that grew into an adult to continued to do the same thing too bad I can t write worth a Tinker s damn , I saw an idea fleshed out that I never knew even had a name I m speaking, of course, of Tulpas Who hasn t that that if the protectors s he created inside their head were actually real how much better things would be Hasn t longed for the ability to reach across the gulf and move something from imagination into reality Sometimes when you re in a dark streak that thought can be scary However, for the most part it just fills you with a longing for something you know you can never have.
In terms of all the other stuff I usually talk about, I was pretty happy The dialogue is solid The pacing is great This isn t a chunker so the story is kept nice and tight The batshit crazy descending up on asylum made me happy as well In closing, Inside the Asylum is a well written story and a great entry into the Kathy Ryan series I think it s safe to say at this point that I look forward to upcoming entries from Mary SanGiovanni.
Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.
Inside the Asylum by Mary SanGiovanni is the third in the Kathy Ryan series She is an Occult Security Consultant, who was originally introduced in the book Chills which some don t count , and then returned in Behind the Door Now we see her again, so I m going with this is the third book However, they all could be read as stand alone novels so far, anyway First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Kensington books Lyrical Underground, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review All opinions are my own.
Series BackgroundWarning May contain spoilers from previous books Kathy Ryan is called by police forces across the country when strange things are found She is one of the leading experts in occult practices, ancient grimoires, devil worship, blood sacrifices, and rites to archaic gods and monsters The reason behind her expertise is not well known, but most agree that it has something to do with the scar that runs down her face Her brother, once a member of a cult, and now in a mental hospital, is responsible for that scar.
My SynopsisNo major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions A visit to the state run Connecticut Newlyn Hospital for the Criminally Insane on behalf of one of her clients makes Kathy a little uncomfortable She has been to the facility before, but doesn t like it Her brother is one of the inmates , and her memories of him are not pleasant However, this visit is not about him.
initially at least.
What Kathy finds, is Henry Banks As a child, Henry created a whole world in his head, complete with entities who protected him from the real life abuse he suffered As a man, he is locked up in a mental hospital for murder, and he insists he is innocent His friends killed the teenagers, not him Kathy fears that may be true For Henry Banks has developed the ability to create Tulpas , creatures so vivid in his mind, that they actually come to life Unfortunately, now they are loose in the Hospital, and they want to stay free.
Kathy will have to trust her brother in order to stop the Tulpas from taking over My Opinions I am enjoying this series First up, it is not for everyone Part supernatural, part true horror, Mary SanGiovanni doesn t shirk away from the gore, so be warned Her writing is excellent, so you can almost see the blood spurt, and you want to step back.
The characters in this series come alive on the page, and in your mind, whether you want them there or not I love the relationship between Kathy and her brother It is complicated, as all sibling relationships are, but so since Toby is a psychopath, and can t really feel emotions They say love and hate are opposite, yet they are closer than you think.
This is a really fast paced novel, with non stop action, and at times you wonder if anyone will survive Cheering for a character is treacherous.
Each book gets better, and I can t wait to see what this author throws at us next For a complete review of this book and others, please visit my blog I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I would classify this as a supernatural fantasy thriller rather than horror Although it takes place mainly inside an Asylum for the criminally insane, it is not creepy or scary entertaining and action packed, with dimension crossing monsters and formidable heroes with spell casting skills I am of a horror reader so I wasn t a good target audience on this one but SanGiovani is a good writer I have read and enjoyed other works by her and she is good with characters and pacing and I enjoyed reading Inside the Asylum.
The reader will note that this is the 3rd in a series I have only read this one but can say that I didn t feel out of sync or confused and didn t detect any spoilers for prior installments which often happens when you jump into the river mid stream I would recommend this book to friends who are into thrillers and I bet that they will like it but not as much to horror fans looking for something chilling and scary.
Another Kathy Ryan Novel Kathy is back and this time she is sent to evaluate the strange behavior of an inmate at the Connecticut Newlyn Hospital for the Criminally Insane Henry, the patient inmate believes he can open doors to another dimension A dimension of dark and evil things called Tulpas Kathy knows how serious this is Some of the people she works for would love to have the ability that Henry has To use as a weapon She believes that Henry has not only created these things but has unleashed them already Henry had a lot of reasons to want to crawl into his head and let the Tulpas handle the bad stuff, but now that they have had a taste of freedom and know what they are capable of, they want to be real In any shape or form and they are deadly.
Kathy will have to work with the only person she knows who is an occult expert Her brother Oh, and yes he lives next to Henry in the Insane Asylum.
This was a fast paced, edge of your seat, bite your fingernails down to nothing thrill ride of gore And as soon as it was over I wanted Great Job NetGalley May 7th 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation Something is breaking loose in the Connecticut Newlyn Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
Stalking the halls after dark, brutally murdering inmates within their locked rooms.
The inmates know who is responsible, but no one believes them.
Occult investigator Kathy Ryan interviews an inmate about his connections to a deadly cult, she learns about the killings.
and when she reports what she heard, she finds herself investigating the suspect, inmate Henry Banks.
Because Henry is innocent.
Henry doesn t kill.
But his imaginary friends do.
And now they re getting ready to break free of Henry.
and break out into the real world.
Leaving Kathy to face an invasion from a place that doesn t exist by creatures that shouldn t exist before they find the secret to becoming in the real world.
and the only person who may know how to stop it is her brother.
who is one of the inmates.
A terrific, fast paced novel of terror where the monsters of the human mind collide with Lovecraftian things that shred minds and reality.
to breed things that will blow your mind out of your ears.
Expected publication May 7th, 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation.
This was an eARC from Netgalley and Kensington Publishing Corporation.
Henry only survived the horrific abuse of his childhood with the help of Maisie, Orrin, Edgar and the Others Henry s friends lives started in his imagination and they lived in Ayteilu, the world he created Unlike your normal garden variety imaginary friends, Henry s have seriously levelled up They re tulpas, sentient and or less autonomous beings brought about by the use of the mind If, like me, you haven t heard of these before, Google can tell you all about them While I found the entire phenomenon fascinating and Mary SanGiovanni takes this concept much further than I hope is ever possible, I cannot stress this enough Do NOT try this at home Kathy s investigation forces her to interact with her brother, Toby, another Connecticut Newlyn patient Awkward And suitably creepy I was eager to learn about Kathy s history after reading my first Kathy Ryan book, Behind the Door, and my wish was certainly granted in this book I can handle all the book blood spatter and gore an author throws at me, but this part of the story was genuinely horrifying It answered my questions from the previous book and was so well done I hesitate to say that I loved it but it felt right, given what I already knew of Kathy, and it caused a visceral reaction in me.
While I had so much fun reading about Kathy s previous investigation in Zarepath my review is here , this investigation blew me away I loved the setting, the characters especially Ernie , the action, the interaction between characters and the imaginative ways Henry s friends interact with our world.
You do not want to be cast as a character in one of Mary SanGiovanni s novels If you actually make it out of the book alive chances are you won t and your death will be suitably gruesome you will not be unchanged by the experience Nightmares, severe trauma and a massive therapy bill will be amongst your prizes for surviving.
If you are squeamish, this book is not for you If, however, you love the kind of horror that spills enough blood to make The Shining s river feel like a trickle and you want to jump up and down with perverse glee when a horror story character s insides become their outsides, then this is definitely right up your alley If you re not convinced yet, you will also come face to sort of face with such awesomeness as a rampaging vending machine and flying lawn mowers I wasn t a fan of the derogatory terms used regarding mental illness in this book by the main character, police officers and some of the staff at the asylum, including view spoiler crazies, mad, nutjob and loony bin hide spoiler