Publisher: Thunderstorm Books
Written by: Edward Lorn
Release Date: June 1, 2017
The biggest curse of the reviewer is that you seldom get a chance to read the books you’ve actually purchased. There is an endless stream of review requests flowing ceaselessly into the inbox and any given reviewer you talk to has a backlog running anywhere from three to eight months out. It was just such a situation with author Edward Lorn that, though I’ve had a couple of his books on my Kindle for quite some time, one of them since 2014, I’ve never had the pleasure of actually reading his work. But I can tell you now, having read a copy of his newest book from Thunderstorm Books, that it is truly a pleasure to experience this prolific and talented young author.
The Sound of Broken Ribs is the story of two lives colliding in horrendous fashion. First, there’s a travesty, then there’s a heinous act of rage, followed by an attempted cover-up, then the real chaos and the horror begin as nightmares are made real, called forth by the sound of broken ribs. Enticing? Well let me tell you, I’m not going to tell you much more as I don’t like to synopsize and I dread being a spoiler. I’m like a politician that way. “I have nothing to hide. I’m sorry I can’t answer that question at this time.”
The first thing you’ll notice as you begin this novel is that it engages you immediately, reeling you in like a largemouth bass and leaving you gasping in the bottom of the boat. The second thing you’ll notice, if you’re like me, is that it’s over. I finished this thing in three sittings and the only reason it wasn’t one is that there were a few parts that were so disturbing I had to take a break and come down after I read them. Edward Lorn’s prowess with a descriptive turn of phrase is so vivid that the terror and suffering Lei, his protagonist, goes through begins sometimes to feel more like a memory of something that happened to you than something you read in a book. He has a knack for making his reader experience pain on in-your-face, almost visceral levels and it’s in evidence on almost every page.
Other high points in The Sound of Broken Ribs include masterful pacing, character driven action, and natural flowing, story advancing dialogue that helps keep you engaged and interested. But the most important aspect of this, as with almost all tales, is the magnificent character development. Lorn makes you really give a damn and you’ll find yourself sometimes deeply concerned for his wronged protagonist and, even more deeply, disturbed by his less than stable antagonist. Belinda is a fascinating character with a tendency to make violently bad decisions when things go wrong, almost always making matters even worse than they were. The author gets deep inside her head and we observe as her quiet psychosis escalates and she tries to rationalize her actions, if only to herself:
“At some point, murder had become the default method of solving prob-lematic people. Belinda didn’t know when this shift had occurred within her, but she knew it terrified her. Was this how serial murderers got started? Were homicides like potato chips—would only one not suffice?”
There’s also, as we see in the above passage, endearing little touches of humor mixed in with the heavy doses of despair and terror that Lorn hurls at us relentlessly as he tells his twisted tale suffering, depravity, and the darkness and evil that lie dormant in the human soul. Sometimes those things awake within a person and we see the true beast, the monstrous deeds that humans are capable of.
If you’re already a fan of the nightmare factory that is Edward Lorn, you’re in for a major treat with this newest addition to his lexicon. If you’ve yet to discover his work, fix that. He’s a rising star in the firmament of horror and an author you–and I–want to keep up with, someone who is the real deal, doing his own thing in his own way and doing it up right.
In addition to this version of the book, there is a deluxe edition coming this winter, with two horrific and wonderful short stories tacked on and a gorgeous custom cover designed and created by Edward Lorn himself. So keep an eye out for that one and, in the meantime, follow the link below to order your copy of this current version while their are still copies to be had.