*I received a free ARC of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources blog tour. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Psychologist Dr Magnus Paul is tasked with the patients of Dortmund Asylum – nine criminally insane souls hidden from the world due to the extremity of their acts.
Magnus has six weeks to prove them sane for transfer to a maximum-security prison, or label them as incurable and recommend a death sentence under a new government act.
As Magnus delves into the darkness of the incarcerated minds, his own sanity is challenged. Secrets squeeze through the cracks of the asylum, blurring the line between reality and nightmare, urging Magnus towards a new life of crime…
The rural western town of Dortmund and its inhabitants are the backdrop to the mayhem on the hill.
It’s Silence of the Lambs meets Shutter Island in this tale of loss, fear and diminishing hope.
There is something very wrong up at Dortmund Asylum and crack psychologist Magnus Paul is eager to set things to rights. But right and wrong are increasingly indistinguishable as there is madness in the air.
Dortmund Hibernate is graphically and psychologically horrific. C. J. Sutton explores the ideas of criminal insanity as sickness and/or evil and pulls no punches along the way, ultimately leaving judgment to the reader.
Trigger warnings are required for pretty much the whole book as it is permeated with blood, rape, and acts of pain and cruelty that seem almost unimaginable. I say almost, because not only will you imagine them, but I can assure you that I am writing this review in the small hours thanks to my rather vivid mental screenplay of this book!
Not only am I haunted by the pictures Sutton paints in shades of crimson and gun-metal, but I am haunted by the questions he raises and leaves unanswered. Questions about whether it is more pernicious to expose a child to drugs or violence, if they are the only two options available. Questions about whether the truly mentally ill can be ‘punished’ or ‘cured’ effectively. Questions about who and how judges that answer. And of course, the obvious question: if you take terrifyingly violent people and lock them up in isolation with only their own thoughts for company, treating them like rabid animals, then might not even the sane splinter?
Dortmund Asylum contains nine prisoners, four guards and now one psychologist. Can Magnus truly help any of them, including himself?
If you love Shutter Island, Identity or Lucky Number Slevin; enjoy plot twists that jump out at you like a Scream-masked slasher, and do not have a delicate constitution when it comes to eyeballs and appendages then you will find Dortmund Hibernate right up your dark alley. If you like your thrillers thoughtful and psychologically insightful then pull up a sofa, but be prepared to keep the lights on. Oh and be warned, you may never look at the reptile house the same way again…!
Dark work, to enter a room and face a human that does not trust the system.
You are the problem.
You represent a foul stench that wafts in through a grate and lingers, never more.
For the sickness rebels, and the rebellion is a battlefield that no man or woman can escape without a wound that seeps until the end of days.
Pay close attention, my friend. We’re all a little insane.
– C. J. Sutton, Dortmund Hibernate
You can find more from C. J. Sutton at his website here, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Dortmund Hibernate releases on Amazon on 18th July 2018.