Brinkvale Psychiatric Hospital art therapist Zach Taylor is endlessly curious, perhaps to a fault. When his cheerful elderly patient Gertrude “Spindle” Spindler completes her latest quilt and informs Zach that a 30-year-old "grand design of nine" has just concluded, Zach’s curiosity is piqued ... and he soon embarks on a quest to unwind the meaning of the woman's cryptic phrase.
He isn't expecting a descent into a world filled with mystery and ruthless subcultures -- and he isn't expecting to be haunted by Spindle's coy clues. What is The Great Blade of Blood? What are The Charred? What is the grand design of nine? And who is the dark-skinned stranger stalking Zach at every turn, threatening his life?
The answers may lie in Spindle's granddaughter, a willowy self-proclaimed psychic named Hen. But Zach soon discovers that Hen may be crazier than the patients he treats ... and the treasure he's pursuing may be more dangerous -- and deadly -- than he ever imagined.
This audio book is a prequel, it's also of novella length, and when it finishes you'll be saying "what!? You can't end it there!" At least that's what I said. It's an investigative mystery with the protagonist not being a detective but rather an art therapist of all things!
It's been written by the author of the 7th Son trilogy and he's brought his own very distinctive and very good style of writing and narration to this audio book.
This book is a short thriller with just a hint of the super natural to add flavour. The protagonist is a likeable guy with some problems and an "interesting" life. As the story proceeds you learn more and more about him and his world, which when combined with a racing plot keeps you glued to your MP3 player.
I really enjoyed it, but it does suffer from being a prequel, so you're left wanting more, and it's so short you'll just have to buy the book "Personal Effects:Dark Arts". These are not bad things, but if you dont have access to the sequel do yourself a favour and don't start listening to this!
Total Score 8/9
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Listen to the first part