05 April 2010

30. The Prison

The Prison - R, Patrick Gates

A prison, the New Rome Correctional Institution, is in Massachusetts. It used to be a mental asylum. That was thirty years ago. Something went wrong there. Many people died and the buildings lay dormant for decades. Now the prison has been built using the land and buildings of the old asylum...and "things" are beginning to get weird again.

So, there is this ancient being called a Windigo living in the tunnels beneath the buildings that preys on the loneliness and despair of men. What better place than an asylum and a prison. It has a field day. (The author took liberties with the real native american Windigo legends)

The events have been happening for a long time. Weird dreams and visions by the guards that go unreported because they would be called lunatics. One guard freaks out and then disappears. One commits suicide. One gets killed doing some autoerotic-asphyxiation stuff at work (so they think). But, when a new recruit arrives things pick up quickly.

Coincidentally, this recruit just happens to be the love child of the doctor from the night shift at the asylum and a crazy patient he fell in love with. These two worked together at first to control the powers of the thing in the tunnels. She realized it was evil and refused to assist any more. He continued and she fought him. The asylum was burned and many people died...and now the son is returning to the grounds.

Dad, the Doc, is still there, though not exactly physically there. He kind if shifts between alternate worlds trying to bring people from one to the other. He controls many inmates through a second reality where he allows them to enter and fulfill fantasies while they are sleeping in the "real" world. By the way...they are prisoners for a reason. Thier fantasies are quite nasty and many are very erotic.

So, the Doc, the Son, and the head guard (who happens to be a distant cousin of them both) end up sparring and what-not while people die and do mean and nasty things everywhere.

Oh, and one of the prisoners just happens to be the grandson of a Native-American Shaman who told him all kinds of legends and stories. This guy just happens to put the whole thing together and is able to explain to the son (the guard) what is happening and what the entity is that he must fight. How nice to have such a knowledge bank sitting around just when you need the answers.

It is an OK story, but I can't say it was scary at all. Gross sometimes? Sure. Was it going to keep me awake at night? Not at all. It was also very predictable. I figured out who was who, which was supposed to surprise the reader, very early on in the book.

I would also like to know if it is possible to write a novel set in a prison without writing about the sodomy which takes place between the inmates? Is it possible to leave out the sexually obsessive guy who was raped by his uncle as a child and now makes friends though sexual favors in the bathroom? I guess it makes things more offensive and disturbing, but it may have been seriously overdone in this book.

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