SOMETHING DANGEROUS by Patrick Redmond - BOOK - ADVANCE READING COPYSuspense at an English boarding school ensues when a new boy accepts the friendship of a boy who becomes increasingly possessive and dangerous.
Thanks to Redmond's masterfully subtle foreshadowing, a brooding sense of impending disaster is maintained throughout his gripping suspense thriller. Set in the late '50s and bookended by a pair of scenes in which a reporter introduces and closes the story, the narrative centers on loner Richard Rokeby. "Arrestingly good looking," sharp-tongued, smart and aloof, Rokeby unnerves schoolmasters and students alike. James Wheatley, campus tough guy, will do anything to impress and befriend Rokeby, but Rokeby gives his friendship to sensitive Jonathan Palmer instead.
Rokeby and Palmer recognize an indefinable "something" that bonds them intensely, and during one school holiday, they play an angry little game on a Ouija board. The details given to the reader are scant at first, but the eventual violent results are terrifyingly vivid. Rokeby becomes possessive of Palmer, domineering and jealous, evolving into an amoral monster and coolly rattling all the skeletons in the closets of Kirkston Abbey's faculty and students.
Redmond tantalizes with his miserly description of those secrets, adding to the novel's cumulative power; an aura of tangible menace hisses behind the narrative's unfolding like a slow fuse heading for dynamite. There's a dark fairy tale at the core of the mystery and a kind of ethical dilemma for readers, who will not know whom to root for as the villains and heroes mutate and shift positions. The climax is refreshingly nonformulaic. Readers will welcome a writer bold enough to leave some things to the imagination, especially when that audacity is accompanied by the finesse Redmont displays here.